March 24–26, 2019


The year 2019 marks the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the historical event that dramatically changed the political, social and cultural face of Europe. Thousands of people from Eastern communist countries crossed into Western Europe by land and sea, transforming and reshaping the places that offered them asylum or refuge. In more recent years, political instability in some Middle-Eastern and sub-Saharan countries has increased the influx of migrants and refugees in the closest ports of entry, notably Greece and Italy, raising numerous questions about how and whether to manage the resettlement of these populations across Europe. The humanitarian crisis such population influx has brought about has created mixed reactions. On the one hand, people have responded with great empathy, but on the other it has opened the way for aggressive opposition with calls for a closed border, economic protectionism and the affirmation of nationalistic identities.

This conference aims to address the immigrant experience in the Mediterranean from different perspectives. What are the motivations or obligations that push people to leave their country of origin? What are the struggles they face in their journeys, and the difficulties that they meet when they arrive in a new space? Through lectures, conferences, films, interviews and discussions with experts from diverse backgrounds we want to illustrate the complexity of these issues.

All sessions will take place in the Carole Weinstein International Center Commons.

For more information, please contact the conference organizer, Dr. Lidia Radi (lradi@richmond.edu).


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  • March 24, 3:30 pm: Film Screening, Un Posto Altrove

    Un Posto Altrove (A place elsewhere) - Ukrop Auditorium, Robins School of Business

    A documentary film by directors Andrea Onori and Luca Sella
    Presented as part of the International Film Series

    Following the screening, join Andrea Onori and Luca Sella for a discussion of the film, moderated by Emanuele Pettener from Florida Atlantic University

    About the Film
    The past, the present, and hopes for the future of two young refugees converge in Venice. Mehdi and Hamda two young refugees who come from Iran and Somalia, respectively, meet through a series of events with unique trajectories that began in different places. Nevertheless, both made the decision to leave their homelands and find refuge in another place, which they knew almost nothing about at the moment of their departure. With tenacity and courage, today they are bringing forward a personal path for integration, combining their customs with the new reality that surrounds them. Venice is the theater of this transition, where segments of the journey are difficult yet rich with hope for a future that they can create for themselves.

    About the Directors
    Luca Sella was born in Castelfranco, Veneto in 1980. After graduating with a degree in Technical Arts and Performance from the University Ca’ Foscari of Venice, he began to work in television broadcasting in 2004, collaborating with national and international broadcasters, including Rai, Mediaset, La7, DAZN, Sky, BBC, and Paramount Channel, among others. Additionally, he has produced videos of dance performances (“Due” for Athemigra Satellite) and corporate videos (Breton); short films (“Protocollo 77”); and documentaries (“Per trenta secondi di TV”, “La realtà del lavoro in AIA”, “Gli alchemici alambicchi di Orfeo”, “Capanna Punta Penia - appunti di vetta”, “Un posto altrove”). At the same time, he recorded the CDS “Deviation Ep” by Heatstick (PAN Records, Berlin); “57 Answers” by Okkiung Lee (Audition Records); and “Noise in my head” by Sudden Infant (Audition Records). Since 2013, Sella has been teaching Audiovisual Studies for the high school IPSIA Galilei of Castelfranco, Veneto.

    Director Andrea Onori was born in the Tivoli district of Rome in 1984. He studied humanistic sciences with a concentration in history at Sapienza University of Rome. He has collaborated with daily and weekly newspapers online and in print writing human rights columns. His essay entitled "Madre terra fratello clandestino" published by Sangel Press, discusses "illegal" immigration. From this essay followed Feisal published by Sprint Press. The novel weaves together multiple stories about real and fictional experiences from Beach Camp to the Center for Identification and Expulsion from Rome (CIE) at Ponte Galeria. Presently, Onori works in an immigrant reception and international integration center for SPRAR (System of Protection for Asylum and Refugee Seekers), headquartered in Venice.

    Un Posto Altrove (A place elsewhere) is their first collaboration in the documentary field.

    About the Moderator
    Emanuele Pettener was born in Venice, Italy, and has lived in the United States since 2000. He teaches Italian Language and Literature at Florida Atlantic University. He is the author of three novels, a collection of short stories, and the critical volume, Nel nome del padre del figlio e dell’umorismo. I romanzi di John Fante (Cesati, Florence, 2010), where he explores Fante’s use of humor and satire in his fiction.



  • March 25, 9 a.m.: The Weight of the Body: Historical Dystopia and the Empire (Keynote Speaker)

    The Weight of the Body: Historical Dystopia and the Empire 9–10:15 a.m.
    Carole Weinstein International Center, Commons

    Opening Remarks: Dr. Lidia Radi, University of Richmond

    Moderator: Dr. Michelle Lynn Kahn, University of Richmond

    Presenter: Professor Simona Wright, The College of New Jersey, President of NorthEast Modern Language Association

    About the Topic
    This essay is a work in progress, dictated by several questions stemming from our postcolonial condition and from the ongoing tragedy playing out on Europe’s borders. As a work in progress, it is characterized by fluctuations, interrogations, detours, and urged forward by questions that problematize our being here, political, cultural, and social, questions that inform our systems of belonging, our agency, and that of others, within the framework of what Jacques Rancière calls "consensus democracy." In Dis-Agreement Politics and Philosophy, the French intellectual reflects on the dialectic of politics and democracy and on their interplay right at that historical junction where they are being challenged by the emergence of violent conflicts and disturbances. Globalization of the markets and free movement of goods, externalization and militarization of the borders, economic and social instability, are all elements of a system that is consistently being threatened by the claims of a specific “uncounted” part whose very appearance produces the destabilization of the well-ordered system of consensus. Rancière contests the idea that the system as a ‘whole’ is just a sum of all its parties, principle on which consensus democracy rests, preferring to demarcate democracy as a space of interlocution and dissent, “the place where the people appear … the place where a dispute is conducted.” The nature of this dispute is not to be intended as a "conflict of interests" but rather as a “conflict over the very count of those parties”. The very essence of democracy is then its ability to set up “communities of a specific kind, polemical communities that undermine the very opposition of the two logics- the police logic of the distribution of places and the political logic of the egalitarian act.” The dialectic logic of policing and egalitarian claims, whereby the whole is equal to the sum of all its parts, is discarded by Rancière in favor of a ternary mechanism that allows democracy to function inasmuch as in it “specific political performers who are neither agents of the state apparatus (policing), nor parts of society” (institutions) conduct, as non-identitary subjects, a “dispute on the stage where people emerge.”

    About the Moderator

    Michelle Lynn Kahn is Assistant Professor of Modern European History at the University of Richmond. She completed her Ph.D. at Stanford University and her B.A. at Claremont McKenna College. Her research and teaching interests emphasize transnational/global connections, migration, race and racism, gender, sexuality, and human rights. In 2015-2016, she served as a German Chancellor Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, during which time she was a Guest Scholar at the University of Cologne and a scholar-in-residence at Germany’s leading migration museum and archive, the Documentation Centre and Museum for Migration to Germany (DOMiD). She is currently working on a book manuscript titled, Foreign at Home: Turkish-German Migrants and the Boundaries of Europe, 1961-1990, as well as beginning a second major project on the entangled histories of Neo-Nazis in Germany and the United States from the 1980s until today.

    About the Keynote Speaker
    Professor Simona Wright coordinates the Italian Program at The College of New Jersey. She holds a Ph.D. in Italian from Rutgers University and a Laurea in German Literature from Ca’ Foscari University. Her publications include a monograph on Italo Calvino, Calvino Neobarocco (1998), several articles on Italian poetry, contemporary Italian women writers, contemporary Italian poetry, and the poetics of migration. Her present work focuses on Italy’s Postcoloniality, with particular attention to the geopolitical debate surrounding Lampedusa and the representation of migrants in literature and cinema. Her recent publications have focused on the docu-films of Dagmawi Yimer, and the representation of the migrant’s body in the European space. In 2014, she co-edited Contaminazioni culturali. musica, cinema e letteratura nell’Italia contemporanea (with Fulvio Orsitto). In 2016 she co-edited the volume Attraversamenti Culturali (with Fulvio Orsitto). Forthcoming are the co-edited volume Mapping Leopardi (with Emanuela Cervato, Giulia Santi, and Mark Epstein) and the co-edited volume Transmigrazioni (with Fulvio Orsitto). She is the co-organizer of the conference Intersections/Intersezioni, the editor of NeMLA Italian Studies and the President of the NorthEast Modern Language Association.


  • March 25, 10:15 a.m.: Coffee Break

    Attendees may take a brief break before heading into the next session at 10:30 a.m.

  • March 25, 10:30 a.m.: Meet the Writer: Anilda Ibrahimi

    Meet the Writer: Anilda Ibrahimi
    10:30–11:45 a.m.
    Carole Weinstein International Center, Commons

    Italian-Albanian writer Anilda Ibrahimi will discuss her literary production. This session will be conducted in Italian, with English translation provided by Ellie Palazzolo and other University of Richmond students. This session will be conducted in Italian, with English translation provided by Dr. Lidia Radi and Dr. Anthony Russell and questions and remarks from University of Richmond Italian Studies students.

    About the Writer
    Anilda Ibrahimi was born in Valona, Albania in 1972. She studied literature in Tirana.In 1994, she left Albania and moved first to Switzerland and later, in 1997, to Italy. Her first novel, Rosso come una sposa was published by Einaudi in 2008 and won the following prizes: Edoardo Kihlgren - City of Milan, Corrado Alvaro, City of Penne, and Giuseppe Antonio Area. Again through Einaudi, she also published her second novel L’amore e gli stracci del tempo (2009 and 2011, for which movie rights were optioned, Paralup Prize from the Nuto Revelli Foundation). Her novels are translated in six countries. In 2012 she published, again through Einaudi, Non c’è dolcezza and, in 2017, Il tuo nome è una promessa, winner of the Rapallo Prize.

  • March 25, 12 p.m., Lunch

    Lunch will be provided for conference participants only and will conclude before afternoon sessions begin at 1:30 p.m.

  • March 25, 1:30 p.m.: Meet the Writer: Ubah Cristina Ali Farah

    From Ashes to Phoenix: words that reconstruct the soul
    1:30–2:45 p.m.
    Carole Weinstein International Center, Commons

    Presenter: Ubah Cristina Ali Farah
    Interviewers: Professor Simona Wright, The College of New Jersey, and Alexandra Smith, University of Richmond

    About the Topic

    There is a difference between casa and casa. In English, house and home are not the same thing: home is intimacy, and an abode, the place of the souls. Daar and guri in Somalian have a similar meaning. Maybe casa is the soul of our first home, the place where we must learn to live together with one another? The surrounding walls do not make the place in which we live a casa. Perhaps these relationships are where we make our roots, where we construct the soul, sheltering and comforting at the same time. So, we can always take the casa with us, our casa can accompany us throughout.

    About the Presenter

    Ubah Cristina Ali Farah was born in Verona, Italy of a Somali father and an Italian mother. She grew up in Mogadishu but fled at the outbreak of the civil war at the age of eighteen. She lived in Rome where she taught Somali language and culture at Roma Tre University. She holds a Ph.D. in African Studies from the University of Naples; currently she is based in Brussels. She is a poet, novelist, playwright, and oral performer. She has published stories and poems in several anthologies and in 2006 she won the Lingua Madre National Literary Prize. Her novel Madre piccola (2007) was awarded the prestigious Vittorini Prize and has been translated into Dutch and English with the title Little Mother (2011). Her latest novel is Il comandante del fiume (The commander of the river, October 2014). She participated in the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program in Fall 2017 and in May/June 2018 she has been writer in residence at MEET (Maison des Ecrivains et Traducteurs de Saint-Nazaire).

  • March 25, 2:45 p.m.: Coffee Break

    Attendees may take a brief break before heading into the next session at 3 p.m.

  • March 25, 3 p.m.: The affect of walking: migrations and urban space (Keynote Speaker)

    The affect of walking: migrations and urban space
    3–4 p.m.
    Carole Weinstein International Center, Commons

    Presenter: Professor Graziella Parati, Dartmouth College

    Moderator: Darian Wyatt

    About the Topic

    The talk will focus on the impact that contemporary migrations have had on the city of Rome. At the center of the talk, there will be the works authored by two Italian "others" that have focused their work on urban space and in particular on Italy’s capital. Talking about urban space from a humanistic point of view is a deliberate move. The words originating from migrants’ and refugees’ move the discussion of the eternal city and urban space in general. Amara Lakhous’s and Igiaba Scego’s novels tell of space and place and question the idea of citizenship and (in) space, by introducing a humanist concept of affective citizenship that talks back to the bureaucratic process of becoming Italian. This talk is also grounded in theoretical texts borrowed from sociology and geography.

    About the Keynote Speaker

    Graziella Parati, the Paul D. Paganucci Professor of Italian Literature and Language, is the Director of the Leslie Center for the Humanities at Dartmouth College. She usually teaches in Comparative Literature, in Italian, and in Women’s and Gender Studies and has served as chair of departments and programs: French and Italian, Comparative Literature, and Studio Art. Her scholarly interests are reflected in the books she has published: Public History, Private Stories: Italian Women’s Autobiography (1996); Migration Italy: The Art of Talking back in a Destination Culture (2006); Mediterranean Crossroads: Migration Literature in Italy (1999); New Perspectives in Italian Cultural Studies. Volume 1 Definitions, Theory, and Accented Practices and New Perspectives in Italian Cultural Studies; Volume 2: The Arts and History (2012); Italy and The Cultural Politics of WWI (2016); and Migrant Writers and Urban Space in Italy: Proximities and Affect in Literature and Film (2017). Professional collaborations have engendered a series of co-edited books: with Ben Lawton, Italian Cultural Studies (2001), with Rebecca West, Italian Feminist Theory and Practice: Equality and Sexual Difference (2002), and with Marie Orton, Multicultural Literature in Contemporary Italy (2007). She has published articles that focus primarily on migration issues. Her book in progress is titled: Un-Becoming Fascists: The Use of Political Autobiographies in Nation Building.

    About the Moderator

    Darian Wyatt is a sophomore at the University of Richmond who is majoring in Geography with a minor in Anthropology. As a Geography major, she has taken a special interest in the field of Human Geography, especially the topics of transnationality, migration, and place-making. In addition to being involved with the Geography and Anthropology departments on campus, Darian is also the president of the University of Richmond’s Geographic Club, an operations chair for the Renaissance Society, a member of Westhampton College’s Class of 2021 Presidential Cabinet, and a Board Member for the Richmond Peace Education Center.


  • March 25, 4 p.m.

    University of Richmond School of Arts & Sciences Dean Patrice Rankine will deliver some remarks.

  • March 25, 5:00 p.m.: Migrazioni contemporanee: Narrare e apprendere l’esperienza trans-nazionale

    Migrazioni contemporanee: Narrare e apprendere l’esperienza trans-nazionale
    5:00-5:45 p.m.
    Carole Weinstein International Center, Commons

    This session will be conducted in Italian.

    Presenters: Dr. Giusy Di Filippo, College of the Holy Cross and Dr. Martina Di Florio, Trinity College

    Moderator: Gabriella Valsecchi, Visiting Instructor, University of Richmond

    About the Topic

    La "letteratura italiana della migrazione" costituisce uno degli argomenti più importanti della letteratura contemporanea. L’oggetto di studio, oltre a essere discusso e approfondito dagli specialisti della materia, è diventato un vero e proprio campo di ricerca in molte università e college statunitensi. L’obiettivo di questa presentazione è quello di dimostrare i molteplici approcci attraverso i quali gli studenti si possono avvicinare allo studio dell’esperienza trans-nazionale e in che modo gli insegnanti possano, al tempo stesso, promuovere non solo lo studio e la conoscenza della lingua, della cultura e della società italiana, ma la loro stretta e fondamentale interconnessione.
    Coinvolgendo gli studenti presenti negli esercizi e nelle attività proposte in Migrazioni contemporanee (attraverso dialoghi, ricerche lessicali, confronti culturali, ascolto musicale, visione di brevi video), la sessione si propone di illustrare una articolata varietà di approcci pedagogici utili al raggiungimento delle abilità di analisi e critica al testo.

    About the Presenters

    Giusy Di Filippo h​olds a Laurea in Modern Literatures and Languages from the Università dell’Aquila and a PhD in Contemporary Italian Literature with a Minor in Gender Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor at the College of Holy Cross (Worcester, MA), and has been teaching Italian Language, Literature and Culture in the United States since 2005. Her research interests include Language Pedagogy, Gender and Women’s Writing, Modern and Contemporary Italian Literature and Cinema, Mediterranean and Migration Studies, Cultural Studies, Postcolonial Studies.

    Martina Di Florio holds a Laurea in Classical Literature from the University of Bologna and a PhD in Contemporary Italian Literature from the University of Connecticut. She is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor at Trinity College (Hartford, CT), and has been teaching in the United States since 2006. Her research interests include Language Pedagogy; Modern and Contemporary Italian Literature and Cinema; Migrant and Postcolonial Writing in Italy; Travel Literature, Geography and Mediterranean Studies.

    About the Moderator

    Gabriella Valsecchi was born and raised in Milan, where she studied Modern Languages and Literature with an emphasis on language teaching at Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, earning the Laurea Magistrale in 1985. In 2014, at the Università per Stranieri in Perugia, she earned an M.A. in Teaching Italian to Foreigners. Since 2010, she has lived and taught Italian in Virginia, where she has been an Adjunct Instructor of Italian at Virginia Commonwealth University, where she also directs the Study Abroad Program. She is currently a Visiting Instructor at the University of Richmond where she teaches courses in Italian Language, Literature, Culture and Cinema.

  • March 25, 5:45 - 6:15 UR Students Discuss Igiaba Scego’s Short Story, Identita Carole Weinstein International Center, Commons
    Presenters: Kyra Benforte, Wendy Berrios, Nicole D’Onofrio, Alexandra Smith, Jessica Wilson
  • March 26, 9 a.m.: Roundtable Discussion: Outsiders and Identity in Medieval and Early Modern Migration

    Roundtable Discussion
    9 a.m.–10:15 a.m.
    Carole Weinstein International Center, Commons

    Presenters: Dr. Joanna Drell, University of Richmond and Dr. Elena Calvillo, University of Richmond
    Moderator: Dr. Anthony Russell, University of Richmond

    About the Topics

    From Arabs to Lombards to Normans: Legacies of Migration in medieval Southern Italy and Sicily
    Dr. Drell

    Who was an immigrant in the Mediterranean kingdom of southern Italy and Sicily (the ‘Regno’)? Dr. Drell will discuss attitudes towards the flow of foreigners, outsiders, and ‘strangers’ in this hotly contested region where Christian, Muslim, Jew, Greek, Latin, Lombard, Norman and Angevin commingled (c.1050-1250). The Regno was shaped by foreigners—their intersection with, assimilation of and divergence from whomever was considered “native” at the time. Evidence culled from chronicles, legal records, and customary tracts reveals not only a variety of positions towards strangers but also an enduring awareness of difference and ‘otherness.’

    A Croatian exile in 16th-century Italy
    Dr. Calvillo

    In 1544, Francesco Babbi, a Medici agent in Rome wrote to the secretary of Cosimo I de’ Medici explaining the conditions that were necessary to recruit the Croatian miniaturist Giulio Clovio, who worked for Cardinal Alessandro Farnese. Babbi thought that with the right incentives, such a canonate of San Lorenzo, Clovio could be persuaded to leave his prestigious position in Rome to work for the Medici in Florence, writing that as a Macedonian Clovio could never return home. Clovio, whose family name had been Latinized, was born on the Croatian coast close to the Venetian colonies along the Adriatic. While Babbi identified him as a Macedonian, Clovio signed his name “Croato” more often than “Macedo.” The latter identity, however, allowed him to capitalize on the ancient origins of the Balkans, and when it came time to dictate his last will and testament, Clovio was very careful to identify his parents as both Macedonian and Illyrian, the ancient civilizations of the area. This lineage allowed him to draw connections to the past that aligned him with great rulers and antique art. Clovio thus used his status as a displaced refugee from ancient lands to develop his professional identity as noble forced to work for his survival, loyal to the Church of Rome, descended from a lost, illustrious culture. His origins were particularly meaningful for the European courtiers of this period who were sensitive to the rhetoric of Christian crusade and poised to take up arms against the Ottoman Empire whose control of the Mediterranean and Eastern Europe was a source of deep anxiety.

    About the Presenters

    Joanna Drell is a professor of history at the University of Richmond. Her research specializes on medieval southern Italy and Sicily, in particular the period of the Normans and Angevins. Her first book, Kinship and Conquest: Family Strategies in the Norman Principality of Salerno (Cornell, 2002), examined family and kinship networks in multi-cultural southern Italy. Since then her research publications have explored medieval southern Italy most notably through the lenses of the crusades, textiles, migration, the works of Dante Alighieri and relations with northern Italy. Her most recent project, Reimagining the Past: Perception and Representation of the Norman Kingdom of southern Italy and Sicily, considers perceptions of medieval southern Italy by northern Italians and peoples of the Continent. She is also co-editing a volume with Dr. Emily O’Brien (Simon Fraser University) for Routledge Press, Memory and Commemoration in Renaissance Europe.

    Elena Calvillo’s research and writing have focused on artistic service and imitative strategies in sixteenth-century papal Rome. She is broadly interested in theories of representation and cultural translation and brokerage in Italy, Spain and Portugal in the sixteenth century. Currently completing a monograph on the career of Giulio Clovio at the court of Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, she has also begun a second book-length project that examines, on one hand, the way in which artists experienced and reproduced in novel or precious media the canonical forms of early modern Rome and, on the other hand, the ways in which collectors outside of Italy received and valued these artistic translations.


    Anthony Russell is an Associate Professor of English and Italian at the University of Richmond. He has a Ph.D. from Yale University in Renaissance Studies with a concentration in Comparative Literature. He has published essays on a variety of writers, including Dante, Ronsard, John Donne, Tommaso Campanella, and Joachim DuBellay. He is currently working on the intersection of aesthetics and religion in Giorgio Vasari’s Lives of the Artists. He re-established the Italian Program at UR in 1994.

  • March 26, 10:15 a.m.: Coffee Break

    Attendees may take a brief break before heading into the next session at 10:30 a.m.

  • March 26, 10:30 a.m.: Roundtable Discussion: Immigration Policies and Practices in Contemporary Italy

    Roundtable Discussion
    10:30 a.m.–11:45 a.m.
    Carole Weinstein International Center, Commons

    Presenters: Dr. Ilaria Serra, Florida Atlantic University; Dr. Simone Brioni, Stony Brook University; Dr. Bernardo Piciché, Virginia Commonwealth University
    Moderator: Giulia Cavedoni, Università degli studi di Pisa

    About the Topics

    The Parable of Venice: Foreigners and a City Space
    Dr. Serra

    Venice, Italy presents an exemplary case in point for the relationship between citizens and foreigners. The city has cut extreme paths to guide this troubled relationship, paths that have changed its physical aspect throughout the city’s long history. Using images and historical data, this presentation focuses on an overview of the foreign presence in the city of Venice, starting from its merchant enclaves and the first Jewish ghetto, passing through the world’s imagination as a grand tour stop, turning into refuge for immigrants and refugees, and ending up as a city under siege.

    The Road Movie and African Italian Counterculture
    Dr. Brioni

    The road movie genre has been employed in migration cinema to stage important discussions on shifting migration patterns and to criticize Europe’s border policies (Mazierska and Rascaroli 2006; Archer 2012; Gott and Schielt 2013; Gott 2017). This paper analyzes how the stylistic and thematic conventions of this genre have been employed in Italian films about migration to portray the contested spaces of the Mediterranean. In particular, Dr. Brioni will focus on the ways in which Elia Moutamid’s Talien (2017) depicts the route that connects Italy to Morocco. As the road movie genre has been employed by counterculture movements to express the opposition to traditional values, the use of the conventions of this genre in Talien and other Italian movies about migration challenge hegemonic and monolithic views of national identity and youth culture.

    Migration Policies in the Mediterranean like Antigone?
    Dr. Piciché

    Is the Northern Mediterranean facing today the tragic dilemma of Antigone: to abide under either the positive or the natural law? Are the immigration policy-makers facing the aut aut whether to protect the “sacred egoism of the Motherland”—to put it with the words of an Italian prime minister—or to opt for the respect of human rights and international conventions, for a sake of human solidarity? The present intervention contends that this is a specious dilemma. The Northern Mediterranean is not Antigone. Her tragic end is not a warning. Indeed when sailors respect the law of the sea, they do not necessarily break the laws of the state. When administrators welcome asylum seekers and economic migrants, they are not impinging on alleged “national identities” and “superior” public interests. These are not theoretical elucubrations: the small town of Riace in Calabria, Italy testifies that xenia and realpolitik can coexist, in spite of all.

    About the Presenters

    Ilaria Serra is Associate Professor of Italian and Comparative Studies at Florida Atlantic University. Her research spans from Italian cinema and literature to the history of Italian immigration to the United States. Among her books: The Value of Worthless Lives: Writing Italian American Autobiographies (Fordham UP, 2007), and The Imagined Immigrant. Images of Italian Emigration to the United States between 1890 and 1924 (Farleigh Dickinson UP, 2009).

    Bernardo Piciché is Associate Professor of International Studies at the School of World Studies of Virginia Commonwealth University. His research explores mainly: a) how the law can act as a form of inspiration for literature; b) Mediterranean studies, in particular the discipline that he is trying to launch, Mediterranean philology; c) the interplay among the various arts; d) Italian cinema. e) How the Roman law percolates and inspires important passages in Dante and Boccaccio. He has published on Boccaccio, Dante, Tasso, Marinetti & Futurism, Caravaggio & the Macaronic , Francesco Rosi’s cinema, Turkish cinema, the Mediterranean. He is editing the special volume for Forum Italicum: ‘Diritto e letteratura nella tradizione italiana’.

    Simone Brioni is Assistant Professor in the Department of English at Stony Brook University. His research focuses on migration in film and literature, cultural studies, and postcolonial studies with a particular emphasis on contemporary Italian culture. His articles have been published in refereed journals including Altreitalie, Cinergie, Écritures, Incontri. Rivista europei di studi italiani, Italian Studies, Science Fiction Studies, Studi Culturali, and The Journal of Italian Cinema and Media Studies. His most recent publications include the monograph The Somali Within: Language, Race and Belonging in ‘Minor’ Italian Literature (2015) and the co-edited volume The Horn of Africa and Italy: Colonial, Postcolonial and Transnational Cultural Encounters (2018).

    Giulia Cavedoni is a PhD student in the department of “Filologia Letteratura e Linguistica”, with a specialization in Italian literature, at Università di Pisa.

    Her research focuses on the Italian novel of the XXth century, more specifically her work examines the literary topos of the “sentimental pilgrimage” and the thematic of the “homecoming”

  • March 26, 12 p.m.: Student Panel on Health and Home in Humanitarian Crisis (Lunch)

    Student Panel on Health and Home in Humanitarian Crisis
    Carole Weinstein International Center, Commons

    Introduction: Alex Bruno, University of Richmond

    Presenters: Wendy Berrios, University of Richmond and Jessica Winkler, University of Richmond

    Moderators: Dr. Jennifer Pribble, University of Richmond and Ellie Palazzolo, University of Richmond

    Abouts the Topics:

    Alexander Bruno

    Capturing Indecision in the Migrant Crisis
    Alexander Bruno is a Junior at the University of Richmond majoring in PPEL with a concentration in Philosophy. In the fall semester of his Junior year, Alexander studied abroad in Verona, Italy at Università degli Studi di Verona. Alexander prepared a literary comparison between Othello and The Optician of Lampedusa by Emma Jane Kirby, a novella that tackles the humanitarian migration crisis in Italy from the perspective of Italian residents of Lampedusa. The comparison centers around the treatment of migrants by Italian society. Alexander is passionate about photography. While shooting on the streets of Verona, he captured an image that symbolizes Italy’s struggle and indecision regarding the migrant crisis. Living in Veronetta, a neighborhood heavily populated by migrants, he had the opportunity to observe the intersection between migrants and Italians first hand. Alexander is very involved with the University of Richmond mock trial team and often tries cases in collegiate tournaments. He plans to go to law school and become a criminal prosecutor.

    Wendy Berrios

    Comparative Healthcare Studies
    Wendy Berrios is currently working on a comparative study of the leading migrant health needs in the United States and in Europe. While the flow of immigrants coming into the United States has slowed down in recent years, European nations are likely to experience higher immigration flows than they have in the past. However, the United States and Europe are both facing growing pressures and challenges to meet certain health criteria. There is generally incompatibility between the international policy on migration and the goals of the health sector. Yet, the health sector is crucial for the integration of migrants and refugees, as studies suggest that restricted healthcare access has health consequences. In her research, Wendy is studying current immigration trends, healthcare challenges, policy changes to improve migrant healthcare, and the future outlook for migration in the United States and in Europe.

    Jessica Winkler

    Humanitarian Intervention in Migrant Crises
    Jessica’s research addresses how the International Humanitarian Organization (IHO) frames its role at the European border. In order to analyze how IHOs frame their operations, she conducted discourse analysis on 250 press releases gathered from the IOM and the UNHCR. Through a coding scheme she designed within a Critical Border Studies (CBS) framework, the analysis demonstrated particular framing patterns. Both IOM and UNHCR promote managerialist approaches to addressing migration, a mentality that has failed to “solve” Europe’s refugee crisis. This inquiry leads into a discussion about quasi-humanitarianism and the need to critically re-evaluate humanitarianism at Europe’s borders.

    About the Presenters:
    Wendy Berrios is a fourth year student at the University of Richmond double majoring in Healthcare and Italian studies. Her undergraduate education has allowed her to discover a passion for human rights, as well as a personal interest in eliminating racial and ethnic disparities in health. During her semester abroad in Rome, Wendy interned at the National Institute for Health, Migration, and Poverty where she worked with a medical anthropologist. For her senior thesis, Wendy is comparing migrant health needs in the United States with those of Europe. After graduation, she plans to work in healthcare administration or the nonprofit sector.

    Jessica Winkler is a senior majoring in International Studies with a concentration in World Politics and Diplomacy. Her current research project stems from her study abroad experiences. During this time, she conducted field and volunteer work with refugees and humanitarian organizations across France, Nepal, Jordan, and Chile. In her correlative thesis, she discusses the international humanitarian organization and the reconceptualization of its ostensibly humanitarian practices. Outside of her interests in critical migration studies, Jessica enjoys travelling and creative nonfiction writing, which informed her first book project on the truth and reconciliation process in multinational political spaces. Next year, Jessica plans to travel to China, where she will reside at a Buddhist monastery.

    About the Moderators:
    Jenny Pribble is an Associate Professor of Political Science and Global Studies at the University of Richmond. Her research focuses on issues of comparative political economy and her book, Welfare and Party Politics in Latin America (2013, Cambridge University Press) develops and tests a theory to explain why some Latin American states have been more effective than others at reforming social policy in a universalistic direction. Jenny’s new research project analyzes subnational variation in the quality of public health services in Chile and Costa Rica. Jenny’s research has been published in peer-reviewed journals, including Latin American Research Review, the American Sociological Review, Comparative Politics, Latin American Politics and Society, Regional and Federal Studies, and Studies in Comparative International Development. She recently received a grant from the University of Costa Rica to help expand the research network on Latin American social policy.

    Ellie Palazzolo is a fourth year student at the University of Richmond majoring in History and French with a minor in Italian Studies. While Ellie’s personal research focuses on intersections of race, migration, and gender at a crossroads with cuisine and taste in the 19th century Atlantic World, she has a deep personal interests in contemporary migration studies as well as Italy and the Mediterranean world. Ellie is active on and off campus serving as President of Cercle Français and an Intern at the Virginia Distillers Association. Next year, Ellie plans to pursue graduate studies in History.

  • March 26, 1:30 p.m.: Film screening: 18 Ius Soli

    18 ius Soli
    A film by Fred Kuwornu
    1:30-3:00 p.m
    International Commons

    Following the screening, join director Fred Kuwornu for a discussion of the film led by Dr. Simone Brioni of Stony Brook University.

    About the Film

    18 Ius Soli is the 2012 award-winning grassroots Italian documentary by Fred Kuwornu about the issues of immigration and citizenship in modern Italy. Through interviews with 18 young men and women whose parents are originally from African, Asian, and Latin American countries, Kuwornu illustrates the plight of 1,000,000 young people born and raised in Italy but unable to acquire Italian citizenship.They go to school in Italy, they speak the language and dialects, they have never visited the countries that their parents are from, nor do they speak their parents’ language. Yet, they are not recognized as Italian citizens because their parents are immigrants. To obtain Italian citizenship, they must go through a lengthy and complicated application process that is only available after they’ve turned 18 years old. The process that doesn’t always end positively, and raises issues of social inclusion and national identity. In addition to these individual stories, 18 Ius Soli examines multiculturalism in Italy, and also looks at more general questions of citizenship, an issue that resonates with the rise of immigrant youth activism in the United States and other countries.

    About the Director

    Fred "Kudjo” Kuwornu is an activist-producer-writer-director, born and raised in Italy and based in Brooklyn. His mother is an Italian Jew, and his father a Ghanaian surgeon who lived in Italy since the early 60’s. Fred Kuwornu holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Mass Media from the University of Bologna. After his experience working with the production crew of Spike Lee’s “Miracle at St. Anna,” Fred decided to research the unknown story of the 92nd Infantry “Buffalo Soldiers” Division, discovering and documenting the journey taken by the real 92nd Infantry veterans, and the entire African American segregated combat unit, which fought in Europe during WW II. In 2012, he released 18 Ius Soli which examines multiculturalism in Italy but also specifically looks at questions of citizenship for the one million children of immigrants born and raised in Italy but are not yet Italian citizens. In 2016 he directed and produced Blaxploitalian 100 Years of Blackness in Italian Cinema. He is the founder of Do The Right Films a production company which produces films and other art forms as tools for building a more inclusive society.