Joseph Sciorra is the director of Academic and Cultural Programs at the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute, Queens College, USA. He is the author of R.I.P.: Memorial Wall Art and editor of Italian Folk: Vernacular Culture in Italian-American Lives.
"Based on years of intensive fieldwork and astute interpretation,
Joseph Sciorra's Built with Faith brushes aside the simple
stereotype of the 'bathtub Virgin' to illuminate the complex
religious lives of Italian American New Yorkers. Sciorra offers a
rich portrait of a little-known but resonant feature of New York's
cultural landscape that will fascinate scholars and general readers
--Dell Upton, Professor of Architectural History at UCLA and author of Another City: Urban Life and Urban Spaces in the New American Republic
"Joseph Sciorra's admirable book, Built With Faith, carries the reader into Italian American New York where Catholic residents enhance many neighborhoods with imaginative yard shrines, elaborate sidewalk altars, miniature nativity scenes, and colorful displays of Christmas lights. These devotional spaces, as well as solemn outdoor processions on feast days, animate the urban landscape for the benefit of all residents. Every reader interested in religion, material culture, and the sense of place in urban life will appreciate Sciorra's memorable text."
--Dolores Hayden, Professor of Architecture and American Studies at Yale University and author of The Power of Place: Urban Landscapes as Public History
"No one knows the world of Italian American Catholicism in contemporary New York better than Joseph Sciorra. In the five brilliant case studies that make up this book, Sciorra explores how Italian Americans construct, by hand, their religious environment--in their homes, in the streets, backyards, and sidewalks of the city--in a kind of sacred sweat equity. Like the artisans he writes about, Sciorra is a master craftsman, and Built with Faith shows him at the height of his powers."
--Robert A. Orsi, Grace Craddock Nagle Chair of Catholic Studies and Professor of Religious Studies and History at Northwestern University and author of The Madonna of 115th Street: Faith and Community in Italian Harlem, 1880-1950