A collaboration of the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies and the Center for Folklore Studies.
The mythic Land of Cockaigne projected a gastronomic utopia or “poor man’s paradise” featuring mountains of cheese, rivers of wine and other sensual delights. It represented a time and place of perpetual feasting. This mythic land survived in Italian popular consciousness for centuries and although transformed, still animates Italian and immigrant culture in America--otherwise known as Il Paese di Cuccagna.
Luisa Del Giudice is an independent scholar of Italian, Italian-American, and Mediterranean foodways, music, vernacular architecture, and oral history. She is the author or editor of Performing Ecstasies: Music, Dance, and Ritual in the Mediterranean (co-edited with Nancy Van Deusen, 2005), Cecilia: Testi e contesti di un canto narrativo tradizionale (1995), Studies in Italian American Folklore (ed., 1993), and a long list of articles, sound recordings, and exhibitions. Her next book, In Search of Abundance, is forthcoming from Bordighera Press. A Fellow of the American Folklore Society, she has served as President of the International Ballad Commission and founder-director of the Italian Oral History Institute. In 2009 she was knighted by the Republic of Italy. Active early in the Los Angeles Slow Food Movement, more recently she has served on the Committee for Sabato Rodia's Towers in Watts and the Diaconal Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, organizing LA's first "Beijing Circle" for women's peace work.