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Italy and the Geopolitics of Migration: Aesthetic Approaches

October 4, 2018 @ 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM


9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. – Darren Star Screening Room, 1422 Melnitz Hall
1:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. – UCLA Royce Hall, Room 314


Presented by the Department of Film, Television and Digital Media and the Department of Italian

The recent formation of the Five Star Movement and the League coalition government (May 2018) has catapulted Italy again into the forefront of European conservative politics marked by populism, national retrenchment, anti-immigration sentiment, and skepticism toward joint ventures and platforms of the European Union. At this moment it is worth revisiting the real consequences of continental migration and to explore Italy as a plural, intercultural and transnational space. This symposium brings together artists and scholars to examine recent literary and cinematic representations of non-Western migration.

Novelist, poet and essayist Ubah Cristina Ali-Farah — author of Little Mother (2011), a narrative about the Somali diaspora in Africa, Italy, and other countries — will present a reinterpretation of the paradigmatic tale about civil and moral strife which is Sophocles’ Antigone. Andrea Segre, sociologist and director of many documentary and fiction films examining transnational migration to Italy, will screen and discuss his recent feature film The Order of Things (2017), based on transnational networks of political, military, criminal and non-governmental organizations involved in European immigration policies. Filmmaker and citizenship activist Medhin Paolos will screen and discuss Asmarina (2015), a documentary about the Eritrean/Ethiopian community of Milan. Sociologist Alessandro Dal Lago, author of Non-Persons: The Exclusion of Migrants in a Global Society (2004), a seminal study of the juridical and mediatic treatment of immigrants in Italy, will join Mediterranean and cultural scholar Alessandra De Maio — author of Wor(l)ds of Progress: A Study of Contemporary Migrant Writings (2008) — to discuss political and aesthetic representations of Italy and conditions of migrancy. Attempting to take the pulse of geopolitics in Italy today, the symposium aims to build bridges across disciplines in the increasing privation of institutional ones.


Federica Di Blasio (Ph.D. candidate, Department of Italian, UCLA)
Shelleen Greene, (Associate Professor of Cinema and Media Studies, Department of Film, Television and Digital Media, UCLA TFT)
Thomas Harrison (Professor of Italian, Department of Italian, UCLA)
Áine O’Healy, Professor of Italian (Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, Loyola Marymount University)
S.A. Smythe (Assistant Professor of Black European and Mediterranean Cultural Studies, Department of African American Studies, UCLA)
Dominic Thomas (Chair of Italian, French & Francophone Studies, Germanic Languages and Scandinavian, UCLA)