2019-2020 Colloquium Series
The Tourism Studies Working Group is pleased to announce
Migration and Tourism on an Italian Carceral Isle
Stephanie Malia Hom
Acus Foundation, Berkeley
Friday, 6 November 2019, 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Gifford Room, 221 Kroeber Hall
University of California, Berkeley
In this colloquium, TSWG co-founder Stephanie Malia Hom will present an excerpt from her new book, Empire's Mobius Strip: Historical Echoes in Italy's Crisis of Migration and Detention (Cornell University Press, 2019). Her talk will explore the ways in which tourism and migration co-exist uncomfortably on the island of Lampedusa, considered by many to be the southern border of "Fortress Europe" and the preeminent signifier of today's migration crisis in the Mediterranean. It interrogates the layered histories of Italy's carceral archipelago, and in particular, how the movements occasioned by imperial projects of the twentieth century (i.e., Italy, U.S.) have shaped the present conditions of migration and detention on Lampedusa, and at the same time, given rise to both its luxury tourism industry and the tourism of emergency. For migrants, the island of Lampedusa serves as a quarantine, and for tourists, a sanctuary. What is at stake is an intertwined critique of migration and tourism, and how the "right" kind of mobility leads to one class of people-tourists-into the emancipatory flows of a better, globalized life, while the "wrong" kind of mobility pushes another vastly larger class of people-migrants-below board into the illegality industry.
Stephanie Malia Hom is an academic and nonprofit executive. She writes and lectures on modern Italy and the Mediterranean, Italian literature and culture, colonialism and imperialism, migration and detention, and tourism studies. She is the author of two books: Empire's Mobius Strip: Historical Echoes in Italy's Crisis of Migration and Detention (Cornell, 2019) and The Beautiful Country: Tourism and the Impossible State of Destination Italy (Toronto, 2015). She also co-edited the volume, Italian Mobilities, with Ruth Ben-Ghiat (Routledge, 2016).
Her essays and articles have been published in wide range of venues, including the leading journals in the fields of Italian studies, tourism history, urban studies, and folklore. She has also worked as a journalist in the U.S. and Europe.
For her research, Stephanie has been awarded fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, American Academy in Rome, American School of Classical Studies in Athens, Harvard University, Stanford Humanities Center, and The Nantucket Project.
She is currently the Executive Director of the Acus Foundation in Berkeley, California. She previously held the position of Presidential Professor of Italian at the University of Oklahoma.
Stephanie received her MA and PhD in Italian Studies from the University of California, Berkeley, and her BA with Honors in International Relations from Brown University. She lives and works in Northern California with her family.