Browse Exhibits (99 total)

Does God Have a Master Plan?

My Great-Grandmother Holding her Rosary

How do the faithful maintain their faith through the anguish of war? This concept is difficult to process for most of us, but not for my great-grandmother. She endured many hardships during World War II, including suffering through the extreme poverty of Calabrian life, mistreatment by German soldiers, and ultimately the death of her only daughter at the hands of her sister-in-law. Through all of these agonizing events she never lost her faith and love for the Madonna. Catholicism has unified Italians and Italy as a nation for hundreds of years. The influence that the Church has had on Italian culture and society in general can be observed publicly with thousands of churches throughout the country. During World War II almost every Italian identified as Roman Catholic — 97 percent.(1) My great-grandmother was raised by nuns in a convent and prayed the rosary every day for her entire life. Her story was passed down to me by both my grandmother as well as my mother.(2) Over the years, my mother has continually reminded me of the benefit of perspective through the recitation of her nonna’s tragic story. 

In 1931, my mother’s grandfather, Giuseppe Furia, was drafted into the Italian army’s cavalry division. Seven years later, as a civilian, he met a local seamstress and devout Catholic, Vincenzina Bonaddio (my bisnonna). Later that year they married in their small hometown of Nicastro, Catanzaro. Shortly thereafter they had a healthy baby girl, Maria Franca.(3) By 1900, Italy was the poorest country in Europe with over 24,000,000 people classified in extreme poverty.(4)  When war broke out in 1939, their Italian village, located in the southern province of Calabria, was one of the poorest regions in all of Italy. The situation was so dire that there was not even enough milk to feed the newborns in Vincenzina’s village. As she nursed her daughter, she would also nurse other people’s babies, sharing what little she had with those that did not have enough. She even developed a serious infection from one of the children she was nursing causing her to require a surgical procedure. With the significant scarcity of medical supplies during wartime, her operation had to be done without any anesthetic. In her retelling of the story, my great-grandmother would boast that because the surgeon liked her, he used a new scalpel just for her. As she clutched her rosary in her right hand, she would find the positive in even the darkest of situations because she believed in her heart that God had a plan. Things were so desperate during this time-period in history that my great-grandfather once took a fig off of a random fig tree due to profound hunger. The property owner saw him take the fruit and chased him down with a gun. He actually fired several shots at Giuseppe as he ran from the property — luckily, my great-grandfather was not injured. Can you imagine trying to kill a person just for stealing a piece of fruit? This single event illustrates just how scarce food was in Calabria and how desperate people had become.

Soon after this event, in early 1939, Giuseppe was recalled into the army. In 1940 Mussolini sent my great-grandfather’s cavalry division into Albania in order to conquer Greece. The invasion was poorly planned and there were many casualties. In fact, the defeat of the Italian invasion of 1940 into Greece has been referred to by some as the "first Axis setback of the entire war”.(5) While fighting in the Pindus mountain range between Albania and Greece, Giuseppe received terrible news from home — his only daughter had died in a tragic accident. At the time, the Italian’s had a policy in place for such circumstances. If a soldier’s child died during wartime, he was permitted 24 hours to return home in order to attend the funeral, but the soldier had to return to the battlefield the following day. While home on emergency leave, Giuseppe’s entire regiment was killed by an allied force’s bomb. If Maria had not died, my bisnonno would have perished along with his unit. The death of their only daughter devastated my great-grandmother, but even then, she continued to pray the rosary and did not lose faith. She and Giuseppe went on to have three more daughters, one of which was my grandmother.

Although my great-grandparents survived World War II, life in postwar Calabria was very difficult. Giuseppe had to go farther and farther north in order to find work. Calabria is still one of the poorest regions in Italy today.(6) While his family was struggling to survive, my great-grandfather’s brother, Tomasso, corresponded with him in order to try to convince him to come to southern Africa. Tomasso had been captured by the British in Ethiopia during the War and was held in an African prisoner of war camp. In the video, Prisoners in Paradise, we learned that the Italian soldiers had a choice of whether to go with the Americans or the British. Additionally, I learned that 51,000 captured Italian soldiers were transported to 24 camps across the United States and many eventually settled there permanently.(7) Tomasso was one of 5000 Italian soldiers captured in Ethiopia and sent to southern African POW camps. As a British POW in Africa, Tomasso worked on a cattle ranch in the British colony of Southern Rhodesia (now called Zimbabwe). After Italy surrendered in 1943, the Italian POWs were released by the British and offered passage back to Italy.(8) Many refused to leave; Tomasso was one of those soldiers that elected not to return to Italy. He was fascinated by the lush jungle landscape and enjoyed life there. My great-uncle was so captivated with the lifestyle in Southern Rhodesia that he wrote to Giuseppe and told him to leave Italy immediately and come join him in Rhodesia. Since life in Calabria was bleak and seemingly hopeless, my great-grandfather agreed to move his young family to southern Africa. They sold what little they possessed and made the difficult two-week passage through the Suez Canal to southern Africa by ship.

Tomasso may have loved life in the bush, but my great-grandparents regretted the move from the moment they arrived. Unfortunately, as much as they hated Africa, they could not afford to return back to Italy and life in southern Italy was still grim. Upon arrival in Africa, Giuseppe worked on a cattle ranch which had no running water or electricity — not the paradise his brother had described. Because there were no schools in the local area, his three young children had to be sent to a boarding school over 100 miles away which devastated my great-grandmother. Her children were so young and didn’t speak a word of English. She feared that they would starve to death because they wouldn’t know how to ask for food. She turned to prayer yet again to comfort her; saying the rosary throughout the day, tirelessly begging the Madonna to protect her babies. Her prayers were answered as all three daughters flourished at boarding school. Eventually my great-grandfather found better employment on a mineral mine and their living conditions greatly improved. They made the best of their situation and lived in Rhodesia for 30 years until they moved to the United States in 1977.

My great-grandparents thrived in America for the next 30 years; my bisnonna had finally found the peace and happiness she had prayed so desperately for and thanked God every day. She lived to the age of 102 and credited her strong faith for her long life and healthy family. Although she experienced much heartache in her 102 years, Vincenzina never lost faith. Even the brutality and hopelessness of war could not break my great-grandmother’s faith. With the benefit of hindsight and the added perspective of time she was able to see God’s hand in the greatest tragedy of her life — the death of her only daughter. In that moment, it would be impossible for anyone to see the bright side of losing a child. But, if Maria had not died, my great-grandfather would have been killed, my grandmother would never have been born, my mother would never have been born, and ultimately I would never have been born. My mother tells me this story repeatedly as a reminder that often we can not understand the good of a bad situation until we have the benefit of a different point of view. With two generations of perspective, it is now possible to see that the death of Maria may have been divine intervention. Catholicism is deeply engrained at a very young age into the Italian culture and this religious foundation benefited my great-grandmother immensely. It gave her cause for optimism when many in her position would have given up. She never lost hope no matter how dire her situation. Tragedy brought my great-grandfather home, but in doing so, a far greater catastrophe was averted. It has been a comfort for many, including my great-grandmother, to believe that fate is guided by a loving hand rather than indiscriminate chance.


1. “A war story: Italian Catholics and a Fascist Europe.” Christian History Institute, Accessed 2 Mar. 2022.

2. Arostegui, Elisa. Interview. Conducted by Anthony Arostegui, 2 February 2022.

3. Pasquale, Maria. Interview. Conducted by Anthony Arostegui, 19 February 2022

4. Moatsos, Michail . How Was Life? Volume II : New Perspectives on Well-being and Global Inequality since 1820. OECD, 2021. OECDiLibrary, sites/e20f2f1a-en/index.html?itemId=/content/component/e20f2f1a-en#figure-d1e64319. Accessed 28, Feb. 2022.

5. “About: Greco-Italian War.” DBpedia.Org, Accessed 1 Mar. 2022.

6. Varrella, Simona. Share of the population at risk of poverty in Italy in 2019, by region. Statista, 2021., Accessed 2 March 2022.

7. Prisoners in Paradise. Directed by Camilla Calamandrei, 2001. Prisoners in Paradise,

8. MacDonald, John Forrest. The War History of Southern Rhodesia 1939–1945. Vol. 2. Bulawayo: Books of Rhodesia, 1976. pp. 380–383 

A Peek Into the College of Arts & Sciences Through the Years

“Medicine, law, business engineering: these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life.  But poetry, beauty, romance, love… these are what we stay alive for.” Dead Poets Society

Anthony Hoyt and Cindy Stella are juniors at Santa Clara University and they are enrolled in Professor Amy Lueck’s English 103 class.  As English and history majors, Anthony and Cindy had a proclivity to pick a research topic which covered both of their fields of interest.  After weeks of deliberation, they decided to center their research around the Colleges of Arts and Sciences, and particularly that at their college, Santa Clara University.  Seeing as Santa Clara University is centrally located in Silicon Valley, the booming technology capital of the United States and the world, Anthony and Cindy took an approach highlighting the College of Arts and Sciences progress in the last forty years.

Within the last forty years, Anthony and Cindy focused directly on two school years in particular, 1973-1974 and 2015-2016.  These two time periods were strategically selected in order to represent two decades in which the arts, otherwise known as humanities, were at highs and lows.  The artifacts that were chosen for this exhibit were not forced to only be from the two years listed above. Instead, Anthony and Cindy wanted to tell as full of a story about the College of Arts and Sciences as possible given their restraints, including, but not limited to, resources, time, and opportunity. So, in other words there are multiple artifacts in this online exhibit, and the physical one showcased on November 29, 2016 not from the specific years of 1973-1974 and 2015-2016 so that the best and most full story of the College of Arts and Sciences could be told. Artifacts were chosen to exemplify the academic sampling, organization, and the  enhancement of the College of Arts and Sciences, as well as help narrate the larger story of the progression of the humanities over time.  However, no researcher can tell the story of the humanities without discussing the fluctuations within the field itself. Some of the selected artifacts, or lack thereof, demonstrate the discrepancies and ways in which the College of Arts and Sciences may not have been as prominent or strong of a force on campus as it had the potential to be.  All in all, this exhibit focuses on all aspects of the College of Arts and Sciences throughout the last forty plus years.


A Referendum on Italian American Education in the United States


This exhibit builds on the teachings and beliefs of Italian American education within the United States, from an East Coast and West Coast perspective. This exhibit will illustrate comparisons, evaluate claims, and elaborate on past beliefs in order to discover whether Italian Americans prospered or faltered on each coast.

Abolitionist writers in relation to Olaudah Equiano

Olaudah Equiano's narrative is one of many writings that stemmed from the first abolitionist movement. I have chosen three other writers from this time (Hector St. John de Crèvecoeur, Anthony Benezet, and Thomas Clarkson) that were mentioned in Appendix B of The Interesting Narrative of Olaudah Equiano. Because these writers were all working during the same time period, and were, for the most part, working towards a similar goal, they often influenced each other’s work. These four writers all used ideas such as morality, religion, equality, and freedom to persuade readers that the 18th-century slave trade was inhumane and unjust. 

About The Exhibit

My interest in the Chinese Cultural Revolution is how it created modern day China and how China is still evolving and growing more powerful day by day. The Chinese Revolution is what initially sparked all of this growth in China. This makes me want to understand how a nation can grow to become so powerful, and the events and environment needed to create it.

What sparked my interest in the Chinese Cultural Revolution is my main interst in almost all parts of history, how great international power is created, and how it falls. This applies to China because it is on the way to being the worlds greatest superpower. My fascination also comes from my nationality as an American. My entire life I have been used to living in the strongest country in the world. It makes me nervous to see anyone surpass the United States since we are so used to being number one. The questions that I am encouraging for people to try to answer while reading this website is what were the impacts of the Chinese Cultural Revolution and why did the Cultural Revolution happen?

Accessibility in Santa Clara University's Charney Hall


The purpose of this exhibit is to evaluate the accessibility of several space within Charney Hall—Santa Clara University's new school of law. The building was completed in 2018, and one of its stated design goals was to "convey transparency and inclusion."

Accordingly, this exhibit will examine the veracity of that claim by featuring various spaces accessible or inaccessible to law students and non-law students alike.

Aleppo Press and Arabic Printing in the Ottoman Empire


This exhibit looks to understand the impact of the first press to print in Arabic in the Middle East, the Aleppo Press, established by Athanasius Dabbas in 1706. Dabbas' productions eventually led to the establishment of a subsequent press in Constantinople by Muslims who printed in Arabic for the first time.

The significance of these presses that were established in the Middle East came from a desire to resist the pressure of Catholicism. Influenced by Eastern European countries such as Romania, where the percentage of Orthodox Christians was high, people like Dabbas wanted to bring these religious texts to the people in the Middle East. Resistance against “Catholic missionary assault,” helped expand religious freedom and keep traditions of Orthodox Christian religions alive. Forms of Christianity were the minority in the Ottoman Empire with the majority following Islamic traditions. 

With the spread of Catholicism, religious texts outside of these ideals were hard to come by which is where the Aleppo Press excelled. These productions were made well and “were used as a basis for further editions for a whole century” (Fedorov). Though European culture was influencing the Middle Eastern elites, this press is an example of resistance towards total conformity. The fact that the productions of the Aleppo Press served to influence the subsequent press as well as other Ottoman Empire presses goes to show why it was such an important press. One of the most interesting and impactful aspects is that this press served as a symbol of resistance against conformity, especially when most other presses that printed religious texts focused on spreading the knowledge of whatever religion the majority of the population followed. 

There is some deabte on whether or not the texts that were printed were truly in support of Christians and instead edited to bribng in more beliefs from the Roman Catholic traditions. This is an interesting comment to keep in mind espeically with discussion on how texts are changed after production. Still, this press was spreading information that was believed by a minority of the population which is not something every press was able to do. 

AP Giannini and Italian-American Entrepreneurship

Bank of Italy.jpg

An exhibit of artifacts potraying information about AP Gianni, the journey of the Bank of Italy, the Pellorano family's involvement and other Italian-American entrepenership.  

Who Made America? | Innovators | A. P. Giannini

This exhibit is meant to examine how Italian-Americans and other immigrants had to persevere through hardships to succeed in America, but takes a more indepth look at Italian-American entrepreneurs, specifically, AP Giannini.

California History

california pic.jpg

Our site aims to look into three different groups that have been discriminated against and treated unfairly in California’s history. A strong theme of social justice runs through all of topics. California is often seen as a one of the most progresive states in the country but it has a long history of oppressing minorities within its borders. These topics will delve into this theme and will show how resilient these communities of Californians are as they fight for change.

I was born and raised in California and I now attend college here. I feel a deep connection to my state and its history. I am proud of it but I recognize that it is far from perfect. I think that the story of the Black Panther Party represents that imperfection and shows the strength of true Califronians. I hope you find the group as compelling and inspiring as I do. - Derek

I picked Californian indigenous history as my choice of topic because I have been invested in indigenous culture since my freshman year. My CTW class covered a lot of the indigenous people’s history of California specifically, and my final project was on the displacement of indigenous tribes and subsequently the loss of native culture. I wanted to continue off of my research from that project and contribute by providing a historical and accurate account of how the experience of colonization was for indigenous tribes of California. - Rania

I've lived in California for all of my life, but I barely know about the state or its history. The most I have learned about the state history-wise is the gold rush period. I want to learn about the early immigration history of California as both my of my parents as immigrants. I want to understand what challenges Asian Americans had to go through when trying to immigrate to the US, specifically California. - Jashan