Matthew H. Ellis
This project illuminates a neglected dimension of the history of Italian colonialism in Libya—namely, the experience of Libyan migration to and exile in Egypt, and the critical role that Italian rule played in fostering a new era of mobility and cross-border politics between Egypt and Libya. By adopting a transnational lens, the research for this project casts new light on Libyan identity formation, Italian–Egyptian relations, and thorny questions of nationality and legal status that attended the end of Italian rule in Libya. This history has ramifications for the present-day politics of migration and refugees in North Africa and the Mediterranean; at the same time, the project contributes to the burgeoning cross-disciplinary scholarship on empire that emphasizes issues of race, nationality, and international law in the era of decolonization after World War II. As such, the project seeks to situate the Italian experience of empire more firmly within larger historical conversations.