Lecture on Mediterranean Crossings


Join us on Wednesday, November 2, at 3 p.m. in the International Center Commons!

With over twenty thousand migrants lost at sea, the Mediterranean has become the largest mass grave in Europe. Over the past two decades, a substantial but unspecified number of African and Middle Eastern men, women, and children has undertaken the perilous journey from war torn homelands to the shores of Italy, Spain, and Greece. The liquidity of a deceptively porous border has rendered their bodies immaterial, inscribing them in the narrative of invisibility and silence. Yet the sea is also an archive, a landscape composed of relics, fishermen, illegal immigrants, state officials, tourists, hotel and restaurant owners. Emblematically, in Lampedusa, an island lost at sea, in the middle of the Mediterranean, the memories of the crossing, successful or failed, pile up, simultaneously reminding us of the economic fissure between the North and the South of the planet and of larger historical frameworks, those of slavery, colonialism, and transatlantic migrations. Exploring  this growing archive, we can recognize different resistances, defying ways to memorialize, historicize, and commemorate, narrations that make the Mediterranean the unexpected laboratory of a new modernity, diasporic and creolized, composed of others and their stories.

Professor Simona Wright holds a PhD in Italian from Rutgers University. She has published works on Italo Calvino, Italian poetry, and contemporary Italian women writers. Since 2000 she has worked on Italy’s Postcoloniality and has published several articles. Since 2012 she has worked on the documentary and cinematic representation of migration. Her present work focuses on the representation of Africa in Italian cinema, literature, and the arts and on the poetics of the senses in Giacomo Leopardi.  In 2014, with Fulvio Orsitto, she co-edited Contaminazioni culturali. Musica, Cinema e Letteratura nell’Italia Contemporanea. Forthcoming are her co-edited volumes Attraversamenti and Mapping Leopardi. She is the co-organizer of the conferenceIntersections/Intersezioni and the editor of NeMLA Italian Studies. In 2016 she was elected Vice-President of NeMLA. She coordinates the Italian program at The College of New Jersey.



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