Pre-Occupied Spaces: Remapping Italy's Transnational Migrations and Colonial Legacies

Pre-Occupied Spaces: Remapping Italy's Transnational Migrations and Colonial Legacies

Pre-Occupied Spaces: Remapping Italy's Transnational Migrations and Colonial Legacies

Pre-Occupied Spaces: Remapping Italy's Transnational Migrations and Colonial Legacies

Synopsis

By linking Italy’s long history of emigration to all continents in the world, contemporary transnational migrations directed toward it, as well as the country’s colonial legacies, Fiore’s book poses Italy as a unique laboratory to rethink national belonging at large in our era of massive demographic mobility. Through an interdisciplinary cultural approach, the book finds traces of globalization in a past that may hold interesting lessons about inclusiveness for the present. Fiore rethinks Italy’s formation and development on a transnational map through cultural analysis of travel, living, and work spaces as depicted in literary, filmic, and musical texts. By demonstrating how immigration in Italy today is preoccupied by its past emigration and colonialism, the book stresses commonalities and dispels preoccupations.

Excerpt

This book was born more than a decade ago, when issues of migration concerned me at a scholarly and personal level in inextricable ways. As I navigated my way through work and study visas as an Italian “legal alien,” to use the official language of the immigration service bureaus, and eventually the green card and U.S. citizenship process, my personal concern diminished while the scholarly, and hence cultural and political, concerns have remained high. in fact, these issues have only become increasingly more relevant (and alas, tragic) globally, and my interest in reading them simultaneously in terms of space and time has, if anything, gained in meaning and scope.

In its final form, the book reflects a thematic organization and a sectional division that I had envisioned from the start. Yet, over this arc of time, many specific aspects have changed, and I found myself updating and adding to the project as over time new texts became available for analysis and inclusion and I felt compelled or inspired to embrace them. Given the long period over which this manuscript was composed, it was perhaps inevitable that several other articles and book chapters would take me temporarily away from it: in the process I could only joke at the fact that the book itself had come to embody a source of preoccupation. Fortunately, the decision by Fordham University Press to publish the book allowed me to end that preoccupation. Writing a book is a form of migration, and for the time being the journey related to this book of mine is over.

This extended and multifaceted project has been possible thanks to the patience and encouragement of a special group of people who have supported my efforts despite the complications born out of many relocations on my part for both work and family reasons. Since I started writing this book, I have changed my address roughly fifteen times and lived in two countries (Italy and the United States) and three states within the United States (California, Massachusetts, and New York), while regularly traveling to four continents (Europe, Asia, North America, and now South America). While usually one’s partner is thanked at the end of the acknowledgments, I would be remiss in relegating my life companion Sharad Chaudhary to the bottom of the list. More than anybody else he has read, edited, and provided critical commentary on this book and the complex and fascinating world it explores. There are no words to express a deeply felt grazie to him for coexisting for such a long time with a project that spoke so much to our trajectories as migrants, and that enriched our fruitful conversations about belonging, and especially linguistic belonging. Laura Ruberto has known about my research project since we were . . .

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