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Migration and the Contemporary Mediterranean

Shifting Cultures in Twenty-First-Century Italy and Beyond


Edited By Claudia Gualtieri

This collection of essays presents a study of migration cultures in the contemporary Mediterranean with a particular focus on Italy as a point of migratory convergence and pressure. It investigates different experiences of, and responses to, sea crossings, borders and checkpoints, cultural proximity and distance, race, ethnicity and memory, along with creative responses to the same. In dialogic and complementary interaction, the essays explore violence centring on race as the major determining factor. The book further submits that the interrogation of racialized categories represents different kinds of critical response and resistance, which involve both political struggle and day-to-day survival and coexistence. Following the praxis of cultural and postcolonial studies, the essays focus on the present but draw indispensable insight from past connections and heritage as well as offering prognoses for the future. The ambitious aim of this collection is to identify some useful lines of thought and action that could help us to think outside intricacy, isolation and defensiveness, which characterize most of the public official reactions to migration today.

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‘Una volta sognai’ / ‘Once I had a dream’ (Alda Merini)


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‘Una volta sognai’ / ‘Once I had a dream’

1 Translated from the Italian by Lidia De Michelis. On 26 June 2008, Alda Merini sent the poem ‘Una volta sognai’ to Lampedusa, on occasion of the inauguration of Mimmo Paladino’s sculpture La porta di Lampedusa in memory of the many deaths by sea and as a memento for transforming borders into open doors. ‘Una volta sognai’ was published in Sotto il cielo di Lampedusa II. Nessun uomo è un’isola (Milan: Rayuela Edizioni, 2015), a collection of poems by migrants in Italy.

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