CONGRIPS is the Conference Group on Italian Politics and Society. CONGRIPS was formally initiated on September 2, 1975, at the American Political Science Association (APSA) convention in San Francisco, California. Norman Kogan of the University of Connecticut spearheaded the effort which, in the first year, garnered 117 members. The original purpose of the organization was to encourage and support academic research and writing on current and past Italian political issues and practices. That charter was expanded in 1986 to include Italian social issues, hence the name change that year to the Conference on Italian Politics & Society ( CONGRIPS ). During its first year, CONGRIP also adopted a Constitution and Bylaws .
Virtually from its inception, CONGRIPS has been involved in a variety of activities intended to further the study of Italian politics. The organization has annually sponsored Italian-focused panels at APSA conventions and at many meetings of several other groups including: the International Political Science Association (IPSA), the Midwest Political Science Association (MPSA), the U.K.’s Political Studies Association (PSA) and the Council for European Studies (Europeanists). It has organized workshops, some of which have attracted funding from the National Science Foundation and Italy’s Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche. CONGRIPS has also sponsored conferences and roundtable discussions in conjunction with other groups such as the Societa’ Italiana di Scienza Politica, Stato e Mercato and the Rockefeller Foundation.In 1987, CONGRIPS facilitated the publication of Italian Politics: A Review in collaboration with the Istituto Carlo Cattaneo. The first volume’s editors included Robert Leonardi, Raffaella Nanetti and Piergiorgio Corbetta. Since then, Italian Politics has been published yearly, both in English (by Berghahn Books) and in Italian (by Il Mulino). The organization’s other major publishing effort has, of course, been its bi-annual update: The Conference Group on Italian Politics & Society Newsletter. Numbering over seventy issues, the Newsletter provides announcements, articles, book reviews and reports of the program chair.One of the strengths of CONGRIPS has been its ability to attract a core academic circle dedicated to research and writing on Italian politics and society. Consistency and hard work have also characterized those responsible for putting together the Newsletter, whether they are part of our current or past executive .
In addition to the NSF funding mentioned above, CONGRIPS has also received grants and other forms of support from the Faculty of Arts of McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada (1987-90); from Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania, USA (1990-95); and from the Fondazione Agnelli, Italy (1990-92). Funds from the latter have, in part, been used for annual prizes to encourage exemplary writing in the field. Since 2006 CONGRIPS awards every other year a Lifetime Achievement Award and, on alternate years, a Best Dissertation Award in the field of Italian politics and society also in a comparative perspective. CONGRIPS enjoys the participation of members from numerous countries across Europe and North America. Future goals for the organization include
- an increase in total member numbers and,
- the attracting of participants from Africa, Asia and Latin America.