Images of the Mafia

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
NEMLA
contact email: 

Call for Roundtable Participants

This roundtable will illustrate how the image of the mafia has been romanticized, falsified, glorified, or held up to historical accuracy in film, television or literature.

The image of the mafia and how it has been appropriated into cultural studies as a romantic business where loyalty and friendship drive a way of life, has contorted our view of its reality. The many images of the mafia we see ranging from filmic representations of the good-hearted mafia Don like Vito Corleone to the fun-loving, soldier like Henry Hill to the flawed but honorable aging Junior Soprano help situate an idea of what it means to be part of this thing called the mafia.

By viewing the mafia as a metaphor for family like Francis Ford Coppola does in The Godfather, we can see beyond the border of what works like this transcend. We begin to understand that these films were “not about a mafia family”; they were “about a classic noble family...about power and the success of power” (Lebo 217). Consequently, the image that attaches itself to the term mafia, symbolizes much more than simply violence and death. It represents a business for the Godfather trilogy.

In this roundtable, we will come together to share one page pieces that illustrate how the image of the mafia has been romanticized, falsified, glorified, or held up to historical accuracy in film, television or literature. Discussion will culminate after sharing these papers of brevity.