The UCSB brown-bag forum on spatial thinking presents

Stephanie Malia Hom

Presidential Professor of Italian
Modern Languages, University of Oklahoma

The Drowned and the Defeated: On the Limits of the Camp in Italian Colonial Libya

Phelps Hall 3512 (map)
12:00 p.m. Tuesday, March 10, 2015

. This talk explores a genealogy of camps in modern Italy, focusing attention on the present-day migrant detention center at Ponte Galeria and its historical predecessor, the Italian-built concentration camp in eastern Libya (1929-1934), or what I identify as the alpha and the omega of the camp in the modern Italian context. It tracks the ways in which mobility and state power operate at both and explores the via negativa lived by the people within them. Both the Libyan camps and Ponte Galeria were spatial responses to “threats” of unsanctioned mobilities – nomadism and illegal immigration – the former belonging to the age of European colonial imperialism, the latter tied to the neoliberal empire of globalization. These spaces brought mobility into play as a relation of force. Finally, my talk situates Giorgio Agamben’s foundational theories of the camp within the Italian cultural context in which he was writing, that is, the collective amnesia that has long marked Italy’s colonial experience.

Stephanie Malia Hom is Presidential Professor of Italian at the University of Oklahoma and is currently the 2014-2015 Marta Sutton Weeks Fellow at the Stanford Humanities Center. She is the author of The Beautiful Country: Tourism and the Impossible State of Destination Italy (U of Toronto Press, 2015) and the co-editor with Ruth Ben-Ghiat of the volume, Italian Mobilities (Routledge, in press), in addition to a wide array of journal articles and contributions. Her work has been supported by fellowships and grants from the American Council of Learned Societies, the American Academy in Rome, the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, Harvard University, Stanford Humanities Center, the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, among others. She is currently working on her second book, The Empire Between: Mobility, Colonialism, and Space in Italy and Libya.

The objectives of the ThinkSpatial brown-bag presentations are to exchange ideas about spatial perspectives in research and teaching, to broaden communication and cooperation across disciplines among faculty and graduate students, and to encourage the sharing of tools and concepts.
Please contact Andrea Ballatore (893-5267, to review and schedule possible discussion topics or presentations that share your disciplinary interest in spatial thinking.

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ThinkSpatial: Stephanie Malia Hom