In Spring 2022, Dr. Teresa Fiore was invited to teach a graduate seminar entitled “Transnational Italy: Imperial Legacies and Migratory Routes” in the Department of Italian Studies at Yale University. The course was largely based on her 2017 book Pre-Occupied Spaces: Remapping Italy’s Transnational Migrations and Colonial Legacies and enriched by her current project “Memoria presente: The Common Spanish Legacy in Italian and Latin American Cultures.”
Conducted in English and Italian, the course looked at Italian culture within a transnational context that privileged contacts and exchanges across places, times, and languages. Multiple forms of mobility were explored to challenge the “national” paradigm from the modern to the contemporary period: early imperialism under Spanish rule; colonial routes in Africa and the Mediterranean; emigration flows to practically all continents; and contemporary immigration often carrying the legacy of colonialism or imperialism. Materials include films, documentaries, short stories, novels, songs, and photographs by such diverse artists and authors as Nanni Moretti, Dawit L. Petros, Jhumpa Lahiri, Gabriel García Márquez, Laura Pariani, Igiaba Scego, Italo Calvino, Leonardo Sciascia, Maaza Mengiste, Dagmawi Yimer, Amir Issaa, and others.
Above: The Italian Studies Department building
In creating complex circuits of reverberations in which Italy is a point of departure, arrival, transit or return, the course aimed at preparing cross-disciplinary scholars engaged with the recent “transnational turn” and focused on linguistic and cultural translation. It also equipped them to become advocates for a more inclusive, diverse, and expanded vision of Italian Studies in response to a fast-changing job market that re-designs departments and curricula.
The final projects were all designed to be accessible by an external audience, or as platforms for future endeavors. They ranged from blog post on the lure of 1 Euro houses in the South for the Italian diaspora, potentially designed for the H-Net Italian Diaspora blog called Transnational Italian Studies; to a publishable interview on plurilingualism with Adrian Bravi, author of La gelosia delle lingue; translations of and commentaries on Laura Pariani’s short stories about Italians in Argentina, to be added to the Memoria presente archive; and a grant proposal focusing on the expansion of a permanent museum exhibit in Italy to include a section on immigration.