The Empire Between: Mobility, Colonialism, and Space in Italy and Libya


Charles A. Ryskamp Research Fellowships


Modern Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics


This is a study of how mobility forges an unsettling connection between Italy's neglected colonial past and the politics of its present. As a key colonial concern and key organizing principle of our time, mobility intensifies disparities between those who move by choice and those moved by force. This project combines ethnographic research with critical historiography to show how mobility articulates limits of inclusion and exclusion in contemporary Italy and Italian colonial Libya (1911-1943) among five linked sites: carceral island, colonial exhibition, concentration camp, agricultural village, and migrant detention centre. It addresses the understudied phenomenon of contemporary European imperialisms and re-imagines analyses of empire by sharpening our understanding of its mobile foundations.