Published in Italian American Review vol 6, no.2 (Summer 2016), pp. 203-228

This article investigates the reception of two of the most popular TV programs depicting Italian American mafiosi: The Untouchables (1959-63) and The Sopranos (1999-2007).  Italian American organizations protested against both these ethnic representations, winning concessions from producers in the 1960s but coming up empty by the turn of the last century.  The paper argues that the relative success or failure of these antidefamation efforts is not a mere barometer of white ethnics’ cultural status nor aesthetic achievement.  Rather, the cultural status of television itself affected the ways the protesters made their claims and whether or not their demands were met.

PDF of the article at


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