Dr. Teresa Fiore (Full Professor of Italian and Inserra Chair in Italian and Italian American Studies) will give a talk at Brandeis University titled “The Pre-Occupation around the Statues of Columbus and Montanelli: A Transnational Reading of Italy’s Colonialism and Migration in Contemporary Anti-Racist Protests” (Nov. 4). She has also been invited to give the talk at the County College of Morris on Dec. 2, as part of the Legacy Project’s program.
Held as a virtual presentation in both cases, the talk responds to ongoing events in Italy and the U.S. within a long-term framework. What does the BLM movement tumbling Columbus statues across the US have in common with anti-racism protests in Italy in favor of the removal of the statue of former colonial soldier Indro Montanelli? They are both questioning the constitutive nature of discrimination in modern democracies by looking at past forms of exploitation. This talk’s transnational reading of practices of oppression from imperial conquest to anti-immigration policies offers useful tools to critically understand social inequalities across time and space.
The talk builds on a recent presentation Fiore prepared for the The Power Plant Gallery of Toronto about artistic responses to the colonial legacies in countries such as Italy (LINK), and is part of a much longer reflection on the interconnectedness of colonialism, emigration, and immigration, as explored in Fiore’s award-winning book Pre-Occupied Spaces: Remapping Italy’s Transnational Migrations and Colonial Legacies (Fordham UP 2017, to be published in an Italian edition by Mondadori Education in early 2021). It is also linked to an article of hers (“Italy and Italian Studies in the Transnational Space of Migration and Colonial Routes”), included in the volume Transnational Italian Studies, presented at the Oct. 4, 2020 Inserra event, Transnational Italian Studies within Transnational Modern Languages: A Book and Handbook Presentation