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Immigration, Ethnicity, and Nation in Italy

Instructor: Prof. Lorenzo Rinelli [see profile]
Disciplines: Political Science, International Studies, Development Studies

As immigrants, asylum seekers, and refugees move within and across Italian urban borders, they impact the familiar and the "rigid orders of the self"—to borrow the words of the German novelist Günter Grass—where critical concepts like “home,” “identity,” and “otherness” take shape. Students in this course will discuss and analyze together contemporary Italian policies of migration control and the present-day discussion to reform the Italian citizenship regulation from the perspective of history, policy analysis, and political theory. 

The course’s methodology is based on the assumption that in order to grapple with current Italian politics of migration control, it is necessary to understand Italy’s colonial past and the past emigrations of Italians elsewhere. This historical background of the first part of the course will prepare students to be able to comprehend contemporary European and Italian policies of migration control in Africa at the opposite shores of the Mediterranean discussed in the second part of the course. The course will end with a political reflection over the current refugee regime and citizenship in Europe with a final reflection on the city of Rome intended as a laboratory of intricate human relations, a chaotic blend of antiquities and engagement with the future of humanity.

By the end of the course, students will have a good understanding of major debates in Europe and Italy related to immigration, and demonstrate a critical awareness of different agendas and actors involved in shaping European and Italian policies and practices related to immigration, integration, and citizenship.