Conference/Symposium

Citizenship and Identity in Italy and the United States: Contestations and Struggles

Thursday, February 9, 2023 11:00 AM–7:00 PM
Friday, February 10, 2023 11:00 AM–7:00 PM

AAR Lecture Room
McKim, Mead & White Building
Via Angelo Masina, 5
Rome, Italy
Color reproduction of a 19th-century oil painting depicting a young man walking along a path carrying an Italian flag and pole on his shoulder; on a hill in the field behind him are several multistory buildings that look a couple hundred years old

Francesco Saverio Altamura, La prima bandiera italiana portata in Firenze, 1859, oil on canvas, 51 x 75 cm (artwork in the public domain)

This international conference brings together scholars from the United States, Canada, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and Italy to analyze and debate the meaning of citizenship and identity in Italy and the United States from the first movements for Italian nationhood in the early nineteenth century and the American Civil War in the mid-nineteenth century to today. In so doing, the speakers will trace the tributaries that have produced contemporary contested definitions of citizenship. The presentations will address the evolving nature of Italian citizenship and the forces of nationalism, colonialism, racism, dictatorship, and immigration that have produced it in the last two hundred years.

Moving chronologically from the Risorgimento and the Civil War to the present, the presentations will assess how race, national origin, religion, colonial subjecthood, and refugee status have forced reconsiderations of the concept of who is a citizen and what is it to be Italian or what it is to be American. They will engage questions including, what does a modern Italian identity look like? Italy has always been a mixture of cultures and peoples, a crossroads. How does that sense of mixture shape the meaning of citizenship in Italy? What is the connection between the struggles of Afro-Italians for citizenship and migrants crossing the Mediterranean? How do the experiences of ethnic and linguistic nationalism in the nineteenth century shape today’s battles over inclusion? Did colonialism and empire fragment or unify Italian identity and demands for citizenship? Who did Fascism consider a citizen, and who did it exclude? What is the relationship between legal citizenship and a sense of belonging?

Thursday, February 9

11:15am
Welcome

Mark Robbins (1997 Fellow), President and CEO, American Academy in Rome

Marla Stone (1996 Fellow), Andrew W. Mellon Humanities Professor, American Academy in Rome

11:30am    
Keynote I

Stephanie Malia Hom (2011 Fellow), University of California, Santa Barbara
Villages, Camps, and Papers: On the Dynamics of Citizenship in Italy

12:30pm
Break

2:30pm
Panel I – Contemporary Struggles over Race, Gender, and Citizenship

Chair: Carmen Belmonte (2019 Italian Fellow), Università degli Studi Roma Tre

Angelica Pesarini, University of Toronto
A Woman, a Mother, a Christian: Biopolitics of Race and Gender in the Recent Italian Political Discourse

Silvana Patriarca, Fordham University
The Unsustainable Imaginary of the (White) Nation in Contemporary Italy

John Torpey, Graduate Center, City University of New York
From Civil Rights to Contemporary Citizenship: Immigration, Ethnoracial Difference, and Inequality in Today’s America

4:15pm
Coffee Break

4:30pm
Panel II – Defining the Nation and the Citizen under Fascism

Chair: Preeti Chopra (2023 Fellow), University of Wisconsin, Madison

Hannah Malone, University of Groningen and Dutch Historical Institute
Building Italian Identity in Fascist Ossuaries of the First World War

Roberta Pergher, Indiana University Bloomington
The Duce, Diaspora, and Dual Nationality: The Contours of Citizenship under Fascism (1926–1933)

6:00pm
Keynote II

Brenda E. Stevenson, University of California, Los Angeles, and Oxford University
Race and Erasure: A Case Study of Diverse Womanhood in the US

Reception

Friday, February 10

11:15am
Welcome

Aliza Wong, Director, American Academy in Rome

11:30am
Keynote III

Pamela Ballinger (2002 Fellow, 2011 Affiliated Fellow), University of Michigan
Thinking with Citizenship in Italy Past and Present: Race, Empire, and Diaspora

12:30pm    
Break

2:30pm    
Panel III: Italian Colonialism and Contested Citizenship

Chair: Stefano D’Amico, Texas Tech University

Daniela Luigia Caglioti, University of Naples Federico II
Tensions, Conflicts, and the Rediscovery of Italianness: The Expulsion of “Italian” Citizens from the Ottoman Empire during the Italo-Turkish War (1911–1912)

Nicola Camilleri, University of Padua and Center for Advanced Studies Southeast Europe, University of Rijeka
Shades of Citizenship in the Italian Colonial Empire

Simona Berhe, University of Bologna
Citizenship in the Colonial Space: The Case of Libya under Italian Occupation

4:15pm
Coffee Break

4:30pm
Panel IV: Colonial and Postcolonial Notions of Citizenship

Chair: Lorenzo Benadusi, Università degli Studi Roma Tre

Sabina Donati, Graduate Institute of International Studies and Université de Genève
Boundaries of Citizenship and Italianità: “Ins,” “Outs,” and “Inbetweens” in Italy’s African Colonies, 1919–1939

Fiori Berhane (2020 Fellow), University of Southern California
Histories and Presents of Postcolonial and Internationalist Solidarities between the Eritrean Liberation Movement and the Italian Left in the 1970s

6:00pm
Keynote IV

Michael Vorenberg, Brown University
Reconstruction as Risorgimento: The Creation and Limits of US National Citizenship in the Long Nineteenth Century

Reception

The presentations will be given in English.

This event, to be presented in person at the Academy as well as on Zoom, is free and open to the public. To attend online, please register for Zoom in advance for day one (February 9) and/or day two (February 10). You may also register to watch the two evening keynotes only, for day one and day two. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinars.

Notice

Space in the AAR Lecture Room is limited, and seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis. If you plan to attend an event with a group of over six guests or students, please inform events [at] aarome.org with at least 48 hours prior notice so that special arrangements can be made.

Backpacks and luggage with dimensions larger than 40 x 35 x 15 cm (16 x 14 x 6 in.) are not permitted on the property. There are no locker facilities available.