“Inhabiting Pre-Occupied Spaces: Remapping Italy’s Transnational Migrations in the Mediterranean and the Americas”
A guest lecture by Dr. Teresa Fiore (Montclair State University)
Teresa Fiore is the Theresa and Lawrence R. Inserra Chair in Italian and Italian American Studies at Montclair State University, New Jersey, USA. The recipient of several fellowships (De Bosis, Rockefeller, and Fulbright), she was Visiting Assistant Professor at Harvard University, NYU, and Rutgers University. She is the author of Pre-Occupied Spaces: Remapping Italy's Transnational Migrations and Colonial Legacies (May 2017) and the editor of the 2006 issue of Quaderni del ‘900, devoted to John Fante. Her numerous articles on migration to/from Italy linked to 20th- and 21st-century Italian literature and cinema have been published in Italian, English and Spanish in both journals (Bollettino d’italianistica, Annali d’Italianistica, Studi italiani, El hilo de la fabula, Diaspora, Zibaldone, Journal of Italian Media and Cinema Studies) and edited collections (Postcolonial Italy; Teaching Italian American Literature, Film, and Popular Culture; The Cultures of Italian Migration). Recent publications include two articles on the new migration flows from Italy to the U.S. in edited volumes on Italian emigration to the U.S. by Routledge and the University of Illinois Press. She coordinates a regular program of cultural events and educational initiatives on campus that focus on the circulation of people, ideas, products from/to Italy: montclair.edu/inserra
Adapted from 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.