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Politics of Migration in Contemporary Italy

Instructor: Prof. Lorenzo Rinelli [see profile]
Disciplines: Political Science, History

This course is based on the assumption that in order to talk about contemporary Italian politics of migration, it is necessary to understand Italy’s colonial past and the past emigrations of Italians elsewhere. Against this historical background, the course then explores an array of present-day responses to immigration in Italy in different contexts and forms, sometimes even antithetical, from Pope Francis’ invitation to recognize the Lord in refugees to political parties that fuel a strong air of resentment down the corridors of power in Rome.

Main topics include both the European and Italian politics of migration control, with particular attention to contemporary movement of people from Africa, and related policies of migration control in the Mediterranean basin that overlap anti-terrorism maneuvers in the Middle East and Maghreb and accelerate visa liberalization for Turkish national thus affecting the very identity of the European Union after the Brexit. With particular regard for Italy, the course explores immigrants’ diverse experiences as they interact with Italian society, culture, and institutions such as the Catholic Church and the state. Finally, the course considers how contemporary immigrations to the city of Rome trace new trajectories in the definition of a burgeoning transcultural Italy, whose colonial and emigrant roots are unmistakably visible yet hidden throughout the urbanscape.


  • a midterm 
  • urban ethnography (10 pages)
  • a final exam