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photo of Etrita Abdullahu performing the ballet piece inspired by the Triangle Fire of 1911
Art, Fashion, History & Politics, Italian American Issues, Literature

It Begins with a Name

Learning to Remember the Triangle Fire

March 26, 2024
6:30 pm

The event will also be broadcast live on our
YouTube, Facebook, and website

Alba Capriati Lecture
It Begins with a Name
Learning to Remember the Triangle Fire

A lecture by
Edvige Giunta, New Jersey City University

Jennifer Merz
Author of Steadfast: Frances Perkins, Champion of Workers’ Rights

Etrita Abdullahu, dancer


Book signing with Edvige Giunta and Jennifer Merz

On March 25, 1911, 146 workers—mostly Eastern European Jewish and Southern Italian immigrant women and girls–died in a fire at the Triangle Waist Company in New York City. The fire, caused by lack of adequate safety measures, had such an impact on public consciousness that it changed US social history. Edvige Giunta considers the question of the memory work surrounding the fire in contemporary times. Drawing on her pedagogical experience as a teacher of memoir as well as a course on the Triangle fire, the co-editor of Talking to the Girls: Intimate and Political Essays in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire will present a memoiristic model for writing of the historical past.

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Edvige Giunta is the author of Writing with an Accent: Contemporary Italian American Women Authors and coeditor of several anthologies. Talking to the Girls: Intimate and Political Essays on the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, edited with Mary Anne Trasciatti, received the 2023 Ssuan Koppelman Award for Best Anthology in Feminist Studies in American and Popular Culture. The Italian translation of Talking to the Girls will be published by Iacobelli. She is Professor of English at New Jersey City University where she has created courses on the memoir and the Triangle fire.

Jennifer Merz is an artist, illustrator, and published picture-book writer/illustrator. Her handcrafted collages are made from textured papers, fabrics, and trimmings. She is the author/illustrator of Steadfast: Frances Perkins Champion of Workers’ Rights. When Frances Perkins witnessed New York City’s Triangle Factory fire in 1911, her desire to help workers transformed into a lifelong mission. First woman in a US Cabinet, she was the force behind the New Deal and Social Security.

Etrita Abdullahu is a dancer who graduated from the Joffrey Ballet School. She received her BFA from NJCU, where she choreographed and performed a ballet piece inspired by the Triangle Fire. Her most recent performances were for the Nutcracker Dream with Carole Alexis Ballet Theater where she danced the leading role of Marie.

Alba Capriati Lecture