Images of Southern Italy as a place of arrival for migrants with different origins and backgrounds are in recent years proliferating on Italian media as well as in contemporary Italian literature and cinema. The unprecedented perspective which presents the mezzogiorno as a place where people arrive and not only as a place of departure, constitutes a major change in the collective imaginary. This perspective, today, alters and challenges the longstanding representation of the Italian South as the forever “backward” part of the country and fosters new engagements with its migratory histories. This book presents one of the first studies to focus entirely, through in-depth readings of a range of contemporary literary and cinematic texts, on the representation of contemporary migration to Southern Italy, and on the concomitant changes in the tradition of representation of the region. Informed by translation theory, and by decolonial, queer and feminist critique, this innovative study zeroes in on the mutual construction of race, gender and sexuality, and on the translation and hybridization of languages and cultures at the southern border. By giving a rich and compelling account of texts which tell multiple stories of mobility from, to and through the South, this book traces the emergence of a transnational imaginary of the mezzogiorno which offers useful tools for an urgent reconfiguration of collective and individual identities.
"Goffredo Polizzi’s timely study contributes to the on-going discourse on “the South” along an expanded horizon. Reimagining the Italian South shifts the assumptions of backwardness, weakness and fiscal inefficiency that have justified the national exploitation and abandonment of the region, Polizzi sheds new light on the “multiple localities” of a borderless cultural and social territory, and emphasizes how mobility (e/im-migration), cultural exchange and a historical/transnational perspective could lead toward a fuller understanding and interaction between local, regional and global Souths."
Pasquale Verdicchio, University of California, San Diego
"Reimagining the Italian South is an exciting and original study that reappraises critical understandings of Italy’s South in the light of inward migration. Informed by a sophisticated theoretical framework uniting postcolonial, transnational and translation theory with critical constructions of gender, sexuality and race, Polizzi’s book addresses how contemporary literature and film reconceptualise the Italian South as a border-space where national identities and discourses come undone, and where new knowledges, identities and meanings are articulated. This fascinating, perceptive and rigorous study provides a new perspective on the Italian South and makes a rich contribution to its reconfiguration, beyond existing understandings of territory, culture and nation."
Ruth Glynn, University of Bristol