In the study for which I received this grant, I analyze some of the ways in which migrants in general, and migrant and post-migrant women writers in particular, call into question the presumed homogeneity of Italian national identity, language, and culture and how, in their writings, they represent new identities in the making. In Chapter One, I argue that the formation and the development of Italian national identity have been deeply influenced by transnational and migratory movements throughout the centuries. Convinced that Italian diasporic movements must be examined as a continuum, rather than as separate phenomena, I analyze here post-unification mass migration out of Italy, the Italian colonial past, and contemporary migration into Italy. In Chapter Two, I question the transparency of the editorial role in “collaborative” autobiographies, and I argued the gap created between the narrator and the author creates positions of power that must be scrutinized. I also contend that, in these collaborations, the presumed relationship of “sisterhood” that feminist scholars often theorize, are often transformed into different kinds of “sisterarchy.” In Chapter Three, I explore the complexity of the discourse on race and racism and the construction of whiteness in Italy and I analyze how Italians – alternatively or, at times, simultaneously – have been racialized and racists. I then analyze the racialization of immigrants in Italy, examining how issues of race and color are represented in the literature written by migrant and post-migrant women writers in Italy. Finally, in Chapter Four, I examine how migrant writers have significantly “hybridized” the Italian language and suggest that, by writing in the language of adoption, migrant writers do not simply adopt a “foreign language;” rather, they reinvent and redefine it, creating new languages. By analyzing the literary production of migrant and post-migrant women writers in Italy, and by concentrating on the intersections of gender, race, class, history, and geography, this dissertation contributes to studies in different fields, ranging from Italian studies, comparative literature, migration and Mediterranean studies, to women’s studies, cultural studies and postcolonial studies.
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