Constitution of the American Association for Italian Studies

Article I – Name

The name of this Association shall be the American Association for Italian Studies.

Article II – Purpose

The purpose of this Association shall be to encourage, support, and conduct research activities in Italian culture, including areas such as Italian language, art, music, history, literature, folklore, and popular culture, and well as its influence on other cultures. To that end, it will periodically publish a scholarly journal, Italian Culture; honor individuals, especially emeriti professors, who have distinguished themselves in the different areas of Italian studies, promoting awareness and appreciation of Italy’s cultural contribution to the world, and in service to the Association.

Article III – Membership

1. Active membership in the Association shall consist of two categories: individual membership and institutional subscribers. To be eligible for membership in this Association, individuals must either hold a Ph.D or Laurea in an area of Italian studies or an equivalent degree in Italian Studies; hold an academic position at the University or College level; be an active scholar in some area of Italian Studies; enrolled in an advanced degree program in an area of Italian Studies above the Master’s Degree Level. Others may apply to the Executive Council for affiliate membership. Members must pay yearly dues in a sum to be determined by the Executive Council and posted on the Association’s website. Members agree to abide by the Constitution and By-Laws of the Association.

2. Libraries and other organizations (institutions of higher learning, foundations or governmental agencies interested in Italian Studies) may become institutional members with the right to receive the Association’s publications but without the right to vote or to participate in deliberations.

Article IV – Officers of the Executive Council

1. The officers of the Association shall be the President, the Vice President, the Executive Secretary, the Treasurer and the regional representatives, as listed in the By-Laws. The officers, the regional representatives, the Immediate Past President and the Current Conference Director shall constitute the Executive Council. The Senior Editor of Italian Culture shall serve as ex-officio member of this council without voting privileges.

2. The President, Vice President, Executive Secretary, and Treasurer will be elected to three-year terms by the membership by mail ballot before the annual meeting or before April 10, date to be decided by the Nominating Committee; All officers are eligible for a second term, but may not serve more than two consecutive terms in the same office.

3. An Honorary President may be named for a term of one year whenever the Executive Council, in consultation with the members present at the annual meeting, deem appropriate. Nominations will be made by the Executive Council and submitted to the membership at the Annual Business Meeting for approval.

4. The Executive Council shall conduct business of the Association in accordance with the terms set forth in the Association’s Constitution and By-Laws.

Article V – Meetings of the Association

1. The Association shall hold an annual or biennial meeting at such time and place as the Executive Council may select. The Conference Director will organize the Annual Meeting in cooperation with the Executive Secretary and the Executive Council.

Article VI – Official Publications of the Association

1. The official publications of the Association are the scholarly journal Italian Culture and an electronic newsletter, Il Gonfaloniere, to be posted on the Association’s website.

Article VII – Affiliations

The Executive Council may authorize the Association to join in the work of other educational organizations and may appoint delegates or representatives for this purpose. The Vice President shall coordinate such alliances.

Article VIII – Revenue

1. The revenue of the AAIS shall derive from membership dues; subscription orders; returns on investment; bequests, legacies and contributions from individuals; contributions by corporate entities; and professional related advertising in Italian Culture.

2. Without prior approval of the Executive Council, no organization or individual member shall solicit any funds, or in any way engage in any project or undertaking the object or a consequence of which is the solicitation of funds, in the name of or for the account of the Association; or, as agent, affiliate, or in any capacity whatsoever undertake or participate in any project that will in any way hold liable or in any manner legally bind the Association.

Article IX – Amendments to the Constitution

1. An amendment may be initiated by the Executive Council or be proposed to it by no fewer than fifteen members or by a delegate and a majority vote of the members present at the General Business Meeting. The Executive Council shall approve, amend, or disapprove any such proposal and report its conclusions to the proponents.

2. Any amendment approved by the Executive Council must be submitted for ratification in a mail ballot to all the members in good standing of the Association by the Secretary. The Executive Secretary shall tabulate the results of the vote and report them to the membership in the Association’s newsletter.

3. Any amendment to the constitution shall be ratified by a majority of the votes received in a mail ballot.

Article X – Dissolution

The Association may be dissolved only at the annual or biennial meeting of the Association by a vote of three fourths of the members present and voting and in the manner prescribed by the laws of the state of Illinois.


By Laws

Article I – Membership and Dues

1. The annual dues shall be determined by the Executive Council for all categories of membership specified in Article III of the Constitution.

2. Honorary Membership in the Association may be conferred, after recommendation by the Executive Council, by a majority vote of the members present at the annual meeting, upon any individual in recognition of distinguished achievements that further the goals of the Association.

2a. Life membership may be purchased for a sum to be determined by the Executive Council and approved by the majority of members voting at the annual meeting.

2b. Individual members of the Association shall enjoy the privileges of chairing meetings and presenting papers for discussion at Association meetings and at sessions on Italian culture sponsored by the Association at other meetings, such as that of the Modern Language Association, which have been approved and coordinated by the President and Vice President of the Association; of competing for awards for the best books published by members of the Association; of making nominations for the offices of the Association, and of being nominated for or appointed to such offices; of voting for the election of officers of the Association; of suggesting to the Executive Council names of emeriti professors to be honored; of suggesting locations for the annual meetings; of informing the administrator of the Association’s list serve about academic and cultural activities at their institutions or elsewhere, and of their own scholarly activities; and of proposing amendments to the constitution as prescribed by the Constitution.

4. Members must renew their dues by 1 March of the new fiscal year, which coincides with the calendar year. Members who have not renewed my 1 March may not participate in that year’s conference.

Article II – The Executive Council

1. General authority to govern the Association shall be vested in the membership as defined in Article III of the Constitution.

2. The President, the Vice President, the Executive Secretary, the Treasurer, and the Senior Editor(s) of Italian Culture shall constitute the Executive Council. The immediate emeriti officers will be available in an advisory capacity and on an ad hoc basis for the twelve-month period following their final year on this Board. The current Conference Director shall join the Executive Council. The editor(s) of Italian Culture shall serve as ex-officio members of the council. The emeriti officers and the current Conference Director shall have voice but no vote.

3. The Executive Council shall determine the annual dues and the regulations governing their payment, subject to ratification by a majority vote of the members at the annual General Business Meeting; interpret the provisions of the constitution; provide for the publication of Italian Culture, appoint its Senior Editor, and, as part of the Editorial Board, help formulate editorial policy; appoint the Conference Director and determine the time, place, and program of the annual meeting after consultation with the membership; appoint an Honorary President in consultation with the delegates at the General Business meeting, if deemed appropriate; appoint a Parliamentarian; advise the Nominating Committee of the regulations governing elections.

4. The meetings of the Executive Council shall be scheduled regularly throughout the year with dates for meetings established no fewer than 30 days in advance.

5. A quorum of at least three members of the Executive Council must be present at official meetings and for the votes of that body to be binding.

6. Delegates to other scholarly associations such as the MLA, AISLLI, NFMLTA, ACTFL, and so forth may be appointed by the Executive Council for three year terms. Members interested in serving as delegates may nominate themselves by contacting the Vice President.

7. The President, the Vice President, the Executive Secretary, the Treasurer shall constitute the Interim Operations Board, which shall manage the affairs of the Association in the interim between meetings of the full Executive Council at the Annual Meeting.

Article III – Duties of the Officers

1. The President is the chief administrative officer of the Association, with direct responsibility for the administration of its affairs. The President shall organize the agenda of the Executive Council meetings and of General Business Meetings of the Association and preside over same; direct the solicitation of funds for the Association; oversee the Association’s relations with various language and cultural associations, such as, in North America, the Modern Language Association, the AATI, ACTFL, AISSLI, and organize delegates who might wish to represent the Association at the meetings of other such organizations; as necessary, liaise with counterpart Italian Studies associations abroad; and assist in coordinating the annual Graduate Student Travel Award.

2. The Vice President shall act as Chief Administrative Officer in the absence of the President. Additionally, the Vice President shall support the President in general communication with other parties, especially as involves organization of the annual conference. Other duties of the Vice President shall be to solicit and accept application materials for the Association's Book Award; to convene and oversee an Awards Committee from a diverse range of established scholars in the field; to forward books to said committee; to report award results to general membership; and to have oversight of coordinating the annual Graduate Student Travel Award. 

3. The Executive Secretary shall: prepare the minutes of the Executive Council meetings and the annual meetings of the Association; distribute these minutes to the Executive Council for additions or corrections before the General Business Meeting; submit any constitutional amendments to the membership for ratification by electronic ballot; tabulate the results for ratification and report them to the Executive Council and the membership; attend to the general correspondence of the Association; oversee the Association website forums; serve as liaison with the Graduate Assistants and coordinate their tasks. 

4. The Treasurer shall collect the dues and keep all the financial records of the Association; disburse all funds for the Association; report each year at the General Business Meeting on the financial status of the association; maintain the directory of the membership of the Association; and expunge from the directory the names of members who are delinquent for two years in the paying of dues from the directory.

7. The Conference Director shall take charge of the arrangements for the annual meeting; consult with the Executive Council with respect to the sections and chairpersons; draw up the final program for the annual meeting and post the conference program on the Association’s website at least thirty (30) days in advance; schedule Executive Council meetings and General Business Meetings in consultation with the President.

8. The Parliamentarian shall guide the officers and the membership in proper parliamentary procedure.

9. In the event that any office shall become vacant for any reason, such a vacancy shall be filled by a majority vote of the Executive Council.

Article IV – Indemnification of Officers

Indemnification shall be provided by the AAIS for each officer, employee, or agent of the AAIS, such as is allowable by the laws of the appropriate jurisdiction and which are reasonably incurred in connection with any action, suit, or proceeding completed, pending, or threatened in which such officer, employee, or agent of the AAIS may be involved by reason of his/her position with the AAIS, by the purchase of insurance, provided that such persons agree in writing to the purchase of such insurance protection. Such indemnification shall be made only in accordance with the laws of appropriate jurisdictions and shall be subject to conditions prescribed therein.

Article V – Election of Officers

1. The Nominating Committee shall consist of five members serving staggered terms of three years. The members of the Committee and its Chairperson shall be appointed by the President upon consultation with and approval of the Executive Council. Two of the appointees to the Nominating Committee may be Regional Representatives. Any member of the AAIS may suggest to the President the names of potential appointees to this committee. The Nominating Committee shall serve for the period necessary to compile the names of nominees for the elective offices and prepare the ballot. The members of this committee shall be selected from at least three different regions and shall include, whenever possible, at least one person from a field outside Italian language and literature. The names of the Nominating Committee will be announced on the Associations website.

2. Members of the Association may submit written nominations to the Nominating Committee. Nominations shall be accompanied by the signatures of at least ten (10) members. Nominations must be made at least thirty (30) days prior to the mailing of the ballots and shall be closed as soon as there are four (4) nominees for any position or by the deadline. The Nominating Committee shall ascertain nominees are willing to serve prior to the distribution of the ballot and shall add such nominations as necessary, so that there shall be at least two but no more than four nominees for every office. Only members in good standing may be nominated for any office.

3. Elections shall be by secret ballot, sent by mail to all voting members of the Association at least 60 days before the Annual Meeting of the year in which the officers are to be elected. All ballots are to be returned to the Chairperson of the Nominating Committee and tallied at least 30 days before the Annual Meeting.

4. The Executive Secretary prepare the ballot, receive and tabulate election ballots, and report the results to the Executive Board, and, upon request, to any member. The results of the election will be announced at the Annual Business meeting and in the spring newsletter . The new officers will assume their duties no later than forty-five (45) days after the deadline for balloting.

5. Any tie vote shall be resolved in an impartial manner, such as the flip of a fair coin by the Chair of the Nomination Committee.

Article VI – Regional Representatives

1. Regional Representatives shall be elected by mail ballot for three year terms from the following Regions; regions 1-6 will have one representative each; region 7 will have two:1. Northeast (CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT, NY)2. Middle Atlantic (NJ, DE, MD, DC, PA, NC)
3. Southern (SC, VA, WV, AR, AL, FL, GA, LA, MS, PR) 4. Midwest (IL, IN, MI, OH, WI, KY, TN, MN, NE, MO, IA, KS) 5. Western (ND, SD, MT, WY, CO, ID, NV, UT, WA, OR, AK) 6. Southwest (AZ, NM, OK, TX, CA, HI) 7. CANADA (two representatives)

2. The regional Representatives shall recommend colleagues in their regions as members of the Association; shall inform the Executive Secretary of the academic, scholarly, and cultural activities in their regions.

Article VII – Meetings of the Association

1. The Conference Director will ‘post on the conference website an agenda for the Annual Meeting (including the General Business Meeting) at least 30 days prior to convocation.

2. A quorum shall be a majority of the members present at the General Business Meeting.

3. Voting by proxy shall not be permitted at annual meetings.

4. The annual meeting of the Association and all meetings of the Executive Council shall be conducted in accordance with Robert’s Rules of Order

Article VIII – Publications of the Association

1. The journal Italian Culture shall have an international scholarly orientation and shall accept articles on Italian studies written in English, and Italian.

2. The organization shall issue copies in a number to be determined by the Editorial Board.

3. The subscription fee in an amount to be determined by the Executive Council shall be made payable to the American Association for Italian Studies, in care of the Treasurer.

4. The Senior Editor shall be appointed by the Executive Council for a five-year term, which may be renewed for a second five-year term. In consultation with the Executive Council, the Senior Editor shall appoint an Advisory Board and an Editorial Staff, including an Associate Editor and a Book Review Editors, each for a five-year term, renewable only once.

5. The Editorial Board of Italian Culture shall consist of the Executive Council, the Advisory Board, and the Editorial Staff. The Editorial Board shall formulate the editorial policy of Italian Culture; shall review books and articles; shall participate in cultural activities of the journal; shall edit special editions on major authors or specific literary or cultural topics. The Senior Editor shall act in consultation with the Editorial Board in all matters pertaining to the format of issues, acceptance of contributions, and contracts with publishers. These matters will be set before the membership for discussion at the Annual Meetings.

6. The Editorial Board shall advise the Editor on the types of articles and reviews to be included in each issue of the journal.

7. In consultation with the Senior Editor, the Book Review Editor shall decide on books to be reviewed. The Book Review Editor shall be part of the Editorial Staff appointed by the Editor. The Review Editor shall assign books and articles for review to members according to their fields of specialization.

8. The Executive Secretary shall administer the list-serve and oversee the operations of the webpage.

Article IX – Caucuses

The AAIS recognizes caucuses that share and promote the common goals of the AAIS. Members of caucuses must be paid members of the Association.

To apply for recognition by the Association a caucus shall present its mission statement to the Executive Council at least 30 days prior to the Association’s annual meeting. After deliberation in Executive Council meeting the application shall be presented to the membership by a representative of the caucus at the General Business meeting where it will be discussed and voted on.

Article X – Amendments

These by laws may be amended at any Annual Meeting, provided that such an amendment shall be presented in writing to the members at least 30 days prior to the Annual Meeting and be approved by a majority vote of the members present and voting. Amendments shall become effective immediately upon approval.