Book manuscript in progress
THE EMPIRE BETWEEN
Mobility, Colonialism, and Space in Italy & Libya
The Empire Between engages history and anthropology to trace the ways in which Italy’s neglected colonial history in Libya (1911-1943) is cited and expanded in the discriminatory practices and marginal spaces of contemporary Italy, especially in terms of immigration policy. I argue that a discourse of mobility forges lasting connections between colonial imperialism and neoliberal empire, giving rise to a construct that I call “the empire between.” I identify Italy’s colonial project, long relegated to footnotes in studies of modern imperialism, and the particularly intimate relationship with its closest colony, Libya, as the optimal case study through which to examine the ways in which these linkages come to fruition.
What is at stake in this study is a deeper and more complicated understanding of the unacknowledged historical forces that drive those who move by choice and those who are moved by force, and ultimately, to account for mobility as the crucial connective tissue between the politics of difference exercised by empire, and to position Italy – long the site of contested mobilities – as the critical site for the study of contemporary European imperialisms in the Mediterranean.
The book consists of four chapters: the island, the camp, the fair, and the village. Each one juxtaposes a space from Italy’s colonial past in Libya (i.e., concentration camp) against one from the present (i.e., migrant detention center) that I see as being intrinsically linked by a specific mobility regime.
See the images at right for examples of the spaces that I analyze in the book manuscript, spaces that represent Italy's empire between.
I am very grateful to be the recipient of several prestigious grants and fellowships in support of this project including:
2014-2015 Charles A. Ryskamp Research Fellowship
2014-2015 Marta Sutton Weeks External Faculty Fellowship
2012-2013 Lauro De Bosis Lectureship