Valerie McGuire ( U of Cal, Berkeley and Chabot College), “Belonging in the Archipelago: Mapping Italian Empire through Mediterranean Mobilities”

Italian Governor’s Palace, Rhodes, Greece, built ca 1927

Recent studies of Italian imperialism have emphasized the discursive link between Italy’s experiences of emigration and the nation’s overseas colonial expansion. Nevertheless, the current state-of-the-field still relies on an intrinsically static framework while emphasizing colonial resettlement – a new home for the “nation” in North and East Africa — as the end goal of Italian colonialism. This paper will propose an alternate and postnational narrative to Italian colonial history bringing together mobility studies, “the complex interrelation between travel and dwelling, home and not-home” (Sheller and Urry 2006) with Mediterranean Studies, and the recognition of the Mediterranean Sea as a “movement-space” (espace mouvement; Braudel 1974). Examining questions of tourism, citizenship, language and identity, the paper brings to light the inherent “in-between-ness” of Italian empire as the result of migration patterns under the influence of early forms of globalization, as well as Italy’s historic and storied relationship to the Mediterranean Sea.

Valerie McGuire is a Lecturer of Italian in the Department of Italian Studies at the University of California, Berkeley and at Chabot Community College. She researches Italian colonialism and post-colonialism with a special focus on Italian experiences on Mediterranean as well as global approaches to Italian culture. She received her PhD in Italian Studies from New York University.

(Sponsored by the Faculty of Arts Workshop & Visiting Speaker Grants, the “Mobilities and Immobilities” research workshop, and the Department of French, Hispanic and Italian Studies.)