Re-Imagining the Italian South. Subjectivity and Migration in Contemporary Italian Literature and Cinema.

2020-02-22T00:33:16Z (GMT) by Goffredo Polizzi
This thesis provides an in-depth discussion of recent Italian novels and movies engaging with different notions of ‘Southernness’ and ‘the south’ and/or exploring the predicament of contemporary southern Italy as a border-space. In considering this production this thesis aims at reframing and rethinking the concept of subjectivity and national identity in contemporary Italy. The aim is to highlight the importance of the interaction among multiple cultures, histories and elements of subjectivity (gender, ethnicity, sexuality) as co-constituting in the process of creation of national and regional identity and to illustrate the concomitant emergence of new conceptions of Italian cinema and Italian literature. This is achieved by drawing from the recent recasting of the ‘southern question’ in postcolonial terms, from renovated philosophical understandings of southern Italian identity and their points of contact with decolonial theories emerging from other souths, as well as from recent historical debates on the Italian diaspora and its links with Italian colonialism. In developing a framework for discussing texts on/from the south this thesis engages and contributes to contemporary debates on the work of southern writers informed by a postcolonial sensitivity, to discussions on the impact of the work of translingual authors writing in Italian and on translingual writing as self-translation, on Italian transcultural cinema. This research aims to answer how literary and cinematic representations sustain or run counter to the process of marginalization of the Italian South on one hand and of migrants to Italy on the other. It provides a discussion of the historical and cultural contexts to which many of the texts taken into consideration refer and proceeds to analyse in depth specific case studies. Novels by Giulio Angioni, Ornela Vorpsi and Evelina Santangelo and movies by Emanuele Crialese, Emma Dante and Jonas Carpignano are discussed in relation to the different and interrelated representations of ethnicity and culture, nationhood and mobility, gender and sexuality, ‘Italianness’ and ‘Southernness’ they provide. These analyses show how these texts, by exploring and establishing links among histories, cultures and languages of different souths participate to the ongoing transformation in transnational terms of Italian and southern Italian culture and identity.