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Event Details

Tue, February 07, 2023

18:00 – 19:30

Villa La Pietra
Via Bolognese, 120
50139 Firenze, Italy


A book presentation by the authors Ann Morning, New York University and Marcello Maneri, University of Milan-Bicocca.

Moderated by Justin Randoph Thompson, The Recovery Plan.

Although race is a familiar, everyday topic in the United States, that is hardly the case everywhere. In Italy, sociologists Ann Morning (NYU) and Marcello Maneri (University of Milan-Bicocca) found just the mention of it regularly elicited the reaction, “Che brutta parola! What an ugly word!” This discussion explores the findings from their new book, An Ugly Word, which compares discourse and beliefs about difference in Italy and the U.S., and proposes a new framework for studying concepts of difference across national borders.

An event in collaboration with Black History Month Florence.


Featured Biographies

Ann Morning


Ann Morning is James Weldon Johson Professor of Sociology at New York University and a member of NYU Abu Dhabi’s Affiliated Faculty. Trained in demography, her research focuses on race, ethnicity, and the sociology of science, especially as they pertain to census classification worldwide and to individuals’ concepts of difference.  She is the author of The Nature of Race: How Scientists Think and Teach about Human Difference (University of California Press 2011) and An Ugly Word: Rethinking Race in Italy and the United States (with Marcello Maneri, Russell Sage 2022). Morning was a 2008-09 Fulbright Research Fellow at the University of Milan-Bicocca, a 2014-15 Visiting Scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation in New York, and a 2019 Visiting Professor at the Institut d’Études Politiques (Sciences Po) in Paris. She was a member of the U.S. Census Bureau’s National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic and Other Populations from 2013 to 2019 and has consulted on ethnoracial statistics for the European Commission, the United Nations, the World Bank Group, and Elsevier. She is currently a member of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Committee on the Use of Race, Ethnicity, and Ancestry as Population Descriptors in Genomics Research. Morning holds her B.A. in Economics and Political Science magna cum laude from Yale University, a Master’s of International Affairs from Columbia University, and her Ph.D. in Sociology from Princeton University

Marcello Maneri


Marcello Maneri is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Milano Bicocca, where he teaches Media and Cultural Sociology. After obtaining a PhD in Sociology at the University of Trento, he was involved in several national and EU-funded projects on the media, security, and racism. His research focuses on the media and migration, racism, public discourse on crime and security, and moral panics. He has just concluded a Horizon 2020 comparative report on narratives on migration in six European countries and is currently finalizing a second book with Ann Morning. The new volume focuses on the notions of genealogical groups’ essentialized difference in Italy and their history, reproduction and ideological functions, following their comparative volume by Russell-Sage in 2022.