Executive Summary

Through an interdisciplinary approach, this project focuses on different aspects of Italian contemporary literature and culture such as migration, post-coloniality, diaspora, ethnicity, multiculturalism, nationhood and subalternity. These topics are central to some of the main subjects that I will address in the two courses that I am teaching (or co-teaching): IT211 Language and Institutions and IT411 L'Italia nel '900. Both courses aim to provide an overview of contemporary Italian culture, and will dedicate some specific lessons to Italian colonialism and recent immigration to Italy. Kaha Mohamed Aden and Ribka Sibhatu will participate in the seminars of the courses IT211 and IT411, during which they will discuss with students their literary works. They will also respectively present the documentaries La Quarta Via and Aulò in a public screening at the University of Warwick.

By the end of this project the student should be able to:

  • demonstrate a broad and informed knowledge of the development of Italian post-colonial and migration literature, and specifically of key themes and formal questions. [subject knowledge];
  • demonstrate an understanding of core aspects of the history of Italian colonialism [subject knowledge and cognitive skills];
  • understand the main issues of post-colonial literature and theory [subject knowledge and cognitive skills]
  • place Italian migration literature within the context of a broader social and cultural history of Italy [subject knowledge];
  • present analyses of specific questions related to Italian migration literature in both written and oral form [cognitive and key skills];
  • acquire a better understanding of original documents in Italian and enhance the listening skills in Italian [key skills].

This project aims to provide students with a detailed understanding of modes of engagement with social and historical themes and questions in post-colonial Italian literature, and to place these texts within the contexts of Italian culture and history. By taking a thematic approach, the project will enable students to develop a more complex and flexible understanding of factors that have influenced and shaped migration and post-colonial literature in Italy.

By reading some extracts from Kaha Mohamed Aden’s Fra-Intendimenti and Ribka Sibhatu’s Aulò, students are invited to evaluate whether the hierarchical differentiation between Italians and colonial subjects continues to be expressed in a similar form of hierarchical differentiation between Italians and immigrants. Moreover, students will analyse how the amnesia over the Italian colonial past influences the representation of migrants in contemporary Italy. Students will also acquire some basic knowledge in migration and post-colonial literary studies, which will allow them to analyse literary multilingualism and cultural translation.