The Island in the Middle Sea: Lampedusa, Migration, and the Ripple Effects of Empire

There are lasting connections between Italy’s current crisis of migration and detention and the carceral archipelago of its recent past. Hom interrogates the layered histories of the island of Lampedusa, and in particular, how the movements occasioned by Italy’s nation-making and colonial projects in the early twentieth century have textured migration and detention in the twenty-first. Hom traces the ways in which the control of mobility, vis-à-vis a discourse of temporary permanence, has informed the creation of these exclusionary spaces, and how Italy’s neglected colonial history in Libya (1911–43) has become cited and expanded in the politics of the present, transforming Lampedusa into the southern border of “Fortress Europe.” Hom asks, what is at stake is a sustained critique of empire and mobility, with Italy as the keystone for imperialism, past and present, in the Mediterranean.

Stephanie Malia Hom is Executive Director of the Acus Foundation in Berkeley, CA. Hom writes and lectures on modern Italy and the Mediterranean, Italian literature and culture, colonialism and imperialism, migration and detention, and tourism studies. She is the author of Empire's Mobius Strip: Italy's Crisis of Migration and Detention (Cornell, 2019) and The Beautiful Country: Tourism and the Impossible State of Destination Italy (Toronto, 2015). She also co-edited with Ruth Ben-Ghiat Italian Mobilities (Routledge, 2015). Her essays and articles have been published in wide range of venues, including the leading journals in the fields of Italian studies, tourism history, urban studies, and folklore.

From 10:30-11:30, in RCC 301, Stephanie will meet with graduate students to discuss paths in and outside of the academy.

Use code "09FLYER" to receive a 30% discount when ordering Empire's Mobius Strip directly from Cornell University Press. (PDF-flyer)

Thursday, October 24 at 11:40am to 1:00pm

Rachel Carson College, 301 356 Rachel Carson Road, Santa Cruz, CA 95064