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 2017 book by Dr. Teresa Fiore (Inserra Chair in Italian and Italian American Studies at Montclair State University), published by Fordham University Press in the Critical Studies in Italian America series. It was awarded the 2017 AAIS Book Prize, received an Honorable Mention at the 2018 MLA Marraro Prize, was voted Runner Up Winner for the 2019 Edinburgh Gadda Prize 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 Loredana Polezzi in Crossings: Journal of Migration & Culture 10:1 (April 2019): 153-5.
  • Review by Joseph Viscomi (“Spaces and Migrations”) in H-net Reviews in the Humanities and Social Sciences (Feb. 2019): 1-3.
  • Review by David Aliano in Journal of Modern Italian Studies 24:1 (Feb. 2019): 198-200.
  • Review by Caterina Romeo in Italian American Review (Winter 2019): 143-146.
  • Review by Alessandra Mattei in Oblio: Osservatorio bibliografico della letteratura italiana otto-novecentesca VIII. 32 (Winter 2018): 287-8.
  • 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 invites her readers to re-read Italy’s history (and its present) of emigration and its present (and its history) of immigration in light of ongoing debates about citizenship and nationality. As the 2018 elections revealed, this is more necessary than ever. I leave wondering about the book’s audience: when will an Italian translation appear?” Joseph Viscomi (H-Net in the Humanities and Social Sciences)

“For its methodological approach as well as its ethical and political impetus, Pre-Occupied Spaces is an important book. In placing mobility at the centre of her canvas, Teresa Fiore makes the stories she tells about Italy crucial for our understanding of the contemporary world, its tensions, its fears and its aspirations. That is why this is a book which deserves to be read well beyond the confines of Italian Studies – and also a book which reaffirms the role Italian Studies can occupy in the broader field of the Humanities. We need stories like these, voiced this clearly and convincingly, if the Humanities
are to maintain their heuristic power and their centrality.” Loredana Polezzi, Cardiff University (Crossings: Journal of Migration & Culture)

“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, was also nominated for the 2018 Bridge Book Award and voted Runner Up Winner of the Edinburgh Gadda Prize – Established Scholars, Cultural Studies Category. 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: