Cropped image of Teresa Fiore's book cover.

Pre-Occupied Spaces: Prizes, Reviews and Presentations

Pre-Occupied Spaces: Remapping Italy’s Transnational Migrations and Colonial Legacies is the title of a new book by Dr. Teresa Fiore (Inserra Chair in Italian and Italian American Studies at Montclair State University), published in 2017 by Fordham University Press in the Critical Studies in Italian America series. It was awarded the 2017 AAIS/American Association of Italian Studies Book Prize in the 20th-21st centuries category, received an Honorable Mention at the 2018 MLA Marraro Prize in Comparative Literature involving Italian, and was nominated for the 2018 Bridge Book Award.

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 as well as to re-design the discipline of Italian Studies within a mobility-based and translingual vision. 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 including Egypt, Argentina, France, Ethiopia and the U.S. through the cultural analysis of travel, living, and workspaces as depicted in literary, filmic, and musical texts (Crialese’s Golden Door, Lakhous’ Clash of Civilization Over an Elevator in Piazza Vittorio, Cavanna’s Les Ritals, Ghermandi’s “The Story of Woizero Bekelech and Signor Antonio,” and Rodari’s short stories, among others). By demonstrating how immigration in Italy today is preoccupied by its past emigration and colonialism, the book stresses commonalities and dispels preoccupations.

Awards, Honorable Mentions and Nominations:

Journal reviews:

  • Review by Caterina Romeo in Italian American Review (upcoming Spring 2019)
  • Review by Loredana Polezzi in Crossings: Journal of Migration & Culture (upcoming Spring 2019)
  • Review by Melissa Coburn in Annali di Italianistica 36 (2018, pp. 465-7). Online text.
  • Review by Giovanna Bellesia in gender/sexuality/italy 5 (2018, pp. 281-3).
  • Review by Cristina Lombardi-Diop in Forum Italicum 51:3 (Fall 2017, pp. 863-66)
  • Review  by Cristina Lombardi-Diop in Altreitalie 55 (July-Dec. 2017, pp. 147-50) (Italian translation of the Forum Italicum review)

Magazine reviews and blog entries

Excerpts from Reviews:

“Being truly pre-occupied with space, Fiore organizes the volume according to a carefully constructed structure that takes the question of migratory space extremely seriously…. The book’s innovative and highly creative architecture waves together an impressive proliferation of well-researched texts, critical references, and disciplinary perspectives. What holds the whole structure together is Fiore’s sophisticated and brilliant work of theoretical scaffolding, one that never loses sight of the perils of its iconoclastic undertakings… Pre-occupied Spaces also redraws the cartography of Italian Studies within the Humanities … [and] has the merit of breaking disciplinary and geographical boundaries in unprecedented ways.” Cristina Lombardi-Diop, Loyola University Chicago (from Forum Italicum review)

“Fiore provides a much broader sense of the vast history behind the narratives [she analyzes] by uncovering a vast array of sources and, in turn, sources for those sources. She thus makes her argument carefully, attentive to scholarly precedents. When theorizing, she self-consciously invites the reader to continued inquiry of valid current questions. In brief, Pre-Occupied Spaces successfully unifies this diverse set of cultural texts into a worthy overview of questions of vital contemporary interest.” Melissa Coburn, Virginia Tech (Annali di Italianistica).

“The uniqueness of Pre-Occupied Spaces stems from its structure, from the author’s decision to approach migration from many different angles, across multiple disciplines and genres. […] Pre-Occupied Spaces is a unique and important contribution to what is becoming the crowded field of migration studies.” Giovanna Bellesia, Smith College (from gender/sexuality/italy review)

Public Presentations (from upcoming to past):


Pre-Occupied Spaces Book cover

Teresa Fiore’s photo 1
Teresa Fiore’s photo 2
Teresa Fiore’s photo 3

Teresa Fiore’s current bio (Sept. 2018)

Teresa Fiore is the Theresa and Lawrence R. Inserra Chair in Italian and Italian American Studies at Montclair State University. 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 (Fordham UP 2017), which received the 2017 AAIS/American Association of Italian Studies Book Prize in the 20th-21st centuries category and an Honorable Mention at the 2018 MLA Marraro Prize in Comparative Literature involving Italian, and was also nominated for the 2018 Bridge Book Award. She is also the editor of the 2006 issue of Quaderni del ‘900, devoted to John Fante, and the co-editor of a special section of the Journal of Modern Italian Studies’ Fall 2018 issue about the migration “crisis” in the Mediterranean Sea. 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; the MLA volume Teaching Italian American Literature, Film, and Popular Culture; The Cultures of Italian Migration; The Routledge History of Italian Americans; and New Italian Migrations to the United States, Vol. 2). Fiore’s current project focuses on food and hunger in Sicily at the time of the Allied Landing in 1943. She has also published in the field of Translation (Donne in Traduzione), and on the topic of innovation in Italian Studies (TILCA) with a special focus on the concept of Critical Made in Italy. On campus, she coordinates a regular program of cultural events and educational initiatives (internships, summer courses for high school students, special class projects) that focus on the circulation of people, ideas, languages, products from/to Italy: