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Comparative Migrations Lecture Series

Series Overview

The George L. Graziadio Center for Italian Studies at CSULB is pleased to sponsor “Comparative Migrations,” a lecture series promoting interdisciplinary dialogue about the cultural, social, and political impact of transnational migration beyond U.S. borders.

Spring 2018


Decolonizing Diasporas: Destierro in Afro-Atlantic Literature”

A guest lecture by Dr. Yomaira Figueroa (20 February 2018)

This talk discusses some of the relational preoccupations and frameworks in the Afro-Atlantic archipelago, specifically the Afro-Latinx Caribbean and Equatoguinean literary corpus written in diaspora. I trace how the concept of destierro makes a contribution to decolonizing discourses and examine how it appears in the work of Loida Martiza Perez and Juan Tomás Ávila Laurel.

“Racial Violence and Traumatic Memory in Southern European Visual Culture”

A guest lecture by Dr. Martin Repinecz (8 March 2018)

This talk will discuss the construction of traumatic memory in visual culture of Spain and Italy by focusing on film and TV representations of two incidents of racially motivated unrest: the 2000 riots of El Ejido in Almería, Spain, and the 2010 rebellion of Rosarno in Calabria, Italy. As a consequence of the international media frenzy each of these incidents provoked in their day, they have been imagined in a variety of film and television productions as the site of a conflicted, traumatic memory of racist violence. Yet the traumatic memory that these works seek to uncover and enshrine often offers ambivalent and oscillating answers to the question: “Whose trauma?” Following Michael Rothberg’s theory of knotted memories, this lecture will explore how the traumatic memory these representations produce is knotted between the violence experienced by immigrants and the trauma felt by Spanish and Italian societies upon disinterring their own suppressed memories of racism. The knotted quality of these conflicting memories underscores the precarity of Southern Europe’s belonging in the “Global North.”

“Inhabiting Pre-Occupied Spaces: Remapping Italy’s Transnational Migrations in the Mediterranean and the Americas”

A guest lecture by Dr. Teresa Fiore (4 April 2018)

Adapted from Teresa Fiore’s recent book Pre-occupied Spaces (Fordham UP 2017), this lecture poses Italy as a unique laboratory to rethink national belonging and participation at large in our era of massive demographic mobility. Italy's formation and development are analyzed on a transnational map that spans the Mediterranean and the Americas through the interrogation of novels and documentaries addressing spaces inhabited by migrants. In interlocking stories about tenement houses in New York, conventillos in Buenos Aires, and multi-ethnic buildings and squares in Rome, the lecture shows how contemporary migrations to Italy today are preoccupied by its past emigration and colonialism. Ultimately, it aims at stressing commonalities and dispelling the preoccupations that are increasingly accompanying discussions about migrants in the European Union as well as at the global level. The operation of re-mapping proposed by the lecture is also an occasion to rethink the discipline of Italian Studies in a dynamic way, using the country’s multiple forms of mobility to identify spaces of cross-pollination within a transnational and translingual vision.

Flyer for Comparative Migrations Lecture Series