Diane Vecchio

Born and raised in Cortland, New York, Professor Vecchio's background as the daughter of an Italian immigrant set the course for her future studies in immigration history. While a graduate student at Syracuse University, Vecchio procured grants from the New York State Council on the Arts which funded her documentary research exhibit on the Italians of Cortland. The John Ben Snow Foundation and a grant from the Agnelli Foundation funded her dissertation research of Italian immigrant workers at the Endicott Johnson Shoe Factory in upstate New York.

Vecchio's teaching career began in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where she taught at Marquette University and the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee and Whitewater. In Milwaukee, a Wisconsin Humanities Grant funded her study of Italian immigrants in that city, which formed the basis for her book, Midwives, Merchants, and Laboring Women: Italian Migrants in Urban America published by the University of Illinois Press in 2006.

Professor Vecchio joined the Department of History at Furman in 1996 where she has been an active member of the university community, serving as Chair of the Faculty Status Committee, the Research and Professional Growth Committee , the Faculty Administrative Liaison Committee, co-Chair of the Women and Gender Studies Committee and as a member of many other university committees.

After working as a faculty consultant for the AP U.S. History exam, Professor Vecchio was appointed Chief Faculty Consultant for United States History by the College Board for a four year term, 2001-2005, and also served on the AP US History Test Development Committee

In addition to Italian immigration, Professor Vecchio's research interests include Southern Jewish History, European women's resistance during World War II and local history of the South Carolina Upcountry. She has presented papers at the American Historical Association, the Organization of American Historians, the Social Science History Society and others.

Name Title Description


The Tumultuous Twenties

This seminar will examine the political, social, and cultural history of the United States in the 1920s. During this crucial decade the values of urban America clashed with the traditions of rural America as the culture of the Jazz Age redefined American morals. Nativism, Anglo-Saxon racism, militant Protestantism and Prohibition characterized the reaction to a rapidly changing society.


United States since 1877

North American history from 1877 to the present in the context of western traditions and global interactions.


Women in European History

The political, economic and social forces affecting womens146 lives in European society. Beginning with theories of patriarchy, the status of women during the Greco-Roman period, Medieval Europe, the Early Modern Period, the first Industrial Revolution and post-industrial society.


American Immigration History

History of immigration to the United States with particular attention to issues of race, ethnicity, and citizenship. Gender and migration, incorporation into American society, the politics of nativism, and exclusion and immigration laws.


Women, War, Resistance

The impact of World War II on European women and their service as factory laborers and aid workers, as well as their activism in Resistance movements redefined gender during wartime. Moreover, women were victimized as never before as a result of mass rape, genocide and refugee displacement. Examining the lives of American, British, Italian, French, German, and European Jewish Women from a gendered perspective of war and its impact on women.


Senior Seminar in History

A required course for all majors. Discussion-based meetings will explore a specific historical topic and the related historiography. Students will conceive, design, and execute their own research project connected to the main topic of the seminar. All seminars include an assignment encouraging students to integrate and to reflect upon their varied classroom, travel study, and internship experiences over the course of the major.


  • Merchants, Midwives, and Laboring Women: Italian Migrants in Urban America, University of Illinois Press, 2006.

Selected Publications from the Last Decade

  • "U.S. Immigration Laws and Policies, 1870 to 1980," Immigrants in American History: Arrival, Adaptation, and Integration, edited by Elliott R. Barkan, 1485-1502 (Santa Barbara: ABC Clio, 2013).
  • "Making Their Way in the New South: Jewish Peddlers and Merchants in the South Carolina Upcountry," South Carolina Historical Magazine 113: 2 (April 2012): 100-124.
  • "From Slavery to Freedom: African American Life in Post-Civil War Spartanburg," Recovering the Piedmont Past: Unexplored Moments in Nineteenth-Century South Carolina Upcountry History, edited by Paul Grady and Melissa Walker, 107-134 (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2013).
  • "The Loss of Self in The Rise of David Levinsky," Journal of American Ethnic History 29: 2 (Winter 2010): 50-55.
  • "Collaboration and Conflict: Immigrant Life in Urban America," Journal of Urban History 34: 4 (May 2008): 724-730.
  • "Family Narratives and Italian Migration" in  Immigration, Incorporation and Transnationalism, edited by Elliott R. Barkan, 105-120 (Piscataway, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 2007).
  • "Ties of Affection: Family Narratives in the History of Italian Migration," Journal of American Ethnic History 25: 2-3 (Winter/Spring, 2006): 117-133.
  • "Immigrant and Ethnic History in the United States Survey," The History Teacher 37: 4 (August 2004): 494-500.
  • "Incorporating Immigration and Ethnic History into the U.S. Survey Course," Immigration and Ethnic History Society Newsletter (Fall 2003).

Selected Conference Presentations & Invited Talks

  • "Jewish and Southern: First Generation Jewish Life in the South Carolina Upcountry," ShalomFest, 2014, Temple of Israel, Greenville, April 6, 2014.
  • "Been Down So Long: Black Women, Work and Community Development in Reconstruction South Carolina," paper presented at the Tenth Associated Colleges of the South Women's/Gender Studies Conference, Furman University, April 4, 2014.
  • "Getting Ahead: Immigrants, Business, and Ethnic Identity," invited speaker at the National Museum of American Jewish History, sponsored by the Jewish Studies Program & the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Feb. 2012.
  • "Entrepreneurs in the Post-Civil War South: Jewish Peddlers in the South Carolina Upcountry," The S.C. Historical Society, Charleston, S. C., March 2011.
  • "Re-negotiating Jewish Identity in the Bible Belt: Peddlers and Merchants in the Post-Civil War South," AHA presentation, January 2009, New York.
  • Invited Speaker, "Merchants, Migrants and Italian Immigrant Women," presented at the Philip Cannistraro Seminar Series sponsored by the John Calandra Italian American Institute, New York City,  March 2006.
  • "Ties of Affection: Family Narratives in the History of Italian Migration," Social Science History Association, Portland, Oregon, Nov. 2005.
  • Invited Presentation: "Family and Labor Migrants from the Campania, 1890-1937," Love of Country: Making Nations in Italy's Diasporic Private Sphere, organized by Donna Gabaccia and the University Center for International Studies, The University of Pittsburgh, April 7, 2005.
  • Invited presentation: "State of the Field: Immigration and Ethnic History," OAH Southern Regional Conference, Atlanta, July 9, 2004.
  • Invited presentation: "Italian Women's Labor Activism and Political Radicalism around the World," Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò, NYU, Feb. 2003.

Book Reviews published:

  • American Historical Review, Journal of American History, Journal of Urban History, Journal of Immigration and Ethnic History, North Carolina Historical Review, Italian American Review.
  • Member of Phi Alpha Theta (history honor society).
  • College Board Appointee: Chief Faculty Consultant, Advanced Placement Exam in U.S. History, 2001-05.
  • College Board Appointee: Test Development Committee, U.S. History 2001-2005.
  • Scholar's Day Guest Speaker: Prominent Alum at State University of New York, College at Cortland.
  • Italian Americana's Best Writings on Women: "Connecting Spheres: Women's Work and Women's Lives in Milwaukee's Italian Third Ward," published in American Woman Italian Style (Fordham University Press, 2011).
  • Elected to the following: South Carolina Representative for the Southern Region of the OAH Membership Committee: 2012-2017.
  • Editorial Board, The Italian American Review.
  • Treasurer, Immigration and Ethnic History Society.
  • Chair, George Pozzetta Dissertation Research Award in Immigration History.
  • Chair, Theodore Saloutos Book Award in Immigration History.
  • Executive Board, Journal of American Ethnic History.
  • Chair, Avery Craven Book Award Committee, OAH.
Syracuse University
Syracuse University
State University of New York

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