Reimagining the Italian South

BookReimagining the Italian South

Reimagining the Italian South

Migration, Translation and Subjectivity in Contemporary Italian Literature and Cinema

Transnational Italian Cultures, 6


March 25th, 2022

Access Token


Other Formats



Images of southern Italy as a place of arrival for migrants with different origins and backgrounds have in recent years proliferated in 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 on the region 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

Author Information

Goffredo Polizzi is a founding member of CRAAAZI - Centro di ricerca e Archivio Autonomo transfemministaqueer ‘Alessandro Zijno’ (Bologna, Italy), where he is also a Research Fellow. He received a Joint Phd in Italian Studies from the University of Warwick (United Kingdom) and from Monash University (Australia). He has published several articles and book chapters on Postcolonial Theory, Queer and LGBT political cultures in Italy, representations of gender, race and sexuality in contemporary Italian literature and cinema.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
List of Illustrations9
Part I: Transnational Theories and Transnational Histories of the South25
1 Transnational Theories of the South27
2 Transnational Histories of the Italian South: Emigration, Colonialism and Migration to Italy47
Part II: Representation of the Italian South in Contemporary Italian Literature77
Introduction to Part II79
3 Languaging, Body and Translation in Giulio Angioni’s Una ignota compagnia (1992)85
4 The South as a Heterotopia: Evelina Santangelo’s Senzaterra (2008)101
5 Transnational Epistemologies of the South in Christiana de Caldas Brito’s Colpo di mare (2018)115
Conclusion to Part II133
Part III: New Representations of the Italian South in Contemporary Italian Transnational Cinema135
Introduction to Part III137
6 Race, Gender and Sexuality in Emanuele Crialese’s Terraferma (2011)145
7 Emma Dante’s Via Castellana Bandiera (2013) from the Page to the Screen: Changing Politics of Sexuality157
8 Jonas Carpignano’s Mediterranea (2015): Decentring the Hegemonic Gaze on the South175
Conclusion to Part III189