CfP: From Italy, To Italy: Transnational Communication and Intimate Worlds, 19th-21st Centuries (Workshop Series, 2022/23, virtual space and Montpellier); by: 20.12.2021

Workshop Series: Italies on the Move – Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier 3; Sonia Cancian and Isabelle Felici

Venue: virtual space and Montpellier
Time: 2022-2023
Proposals by: 20.12.2021

Since time immemorial, communication between individuals and groups has been a vital element in the migration process. This communication has occurred at every stage of the process, from the preparation for a departure or return, in the delivery of news and information, and throughout periods of absence and waiting. This research initiative aims to focus on transnational communication revolving around Italy as both a sending and receiving country and as a country of transit, from the end of the 19th century to today. The project explores all forms of communication (letters, life writings, memoir, diary, audio and video cassettes, and ICTs) produced throughout migration, a term used broadly to signal all forms of displacements, both temporary or permanent.

The objective is to examine the intimate universes identified or represented in different communication forms tied to a migration process. What are the emotions and tensions that migrants feel at each stage of migration? Are such emotions and tensions influenced or determined by gender, class, religion, race, and other dynamics, whether they are claimed, experienced or assigned by societies? What part of these emotions and tensions are attributed to migration as opposed to other experiences of life? What are the effects of transnational experiences on family ties? In what ways does the experience of migration change a migrant’s relationship with public and private spaces? How are social and political relations with societies privately represented and intimately experienced by migrants? Are there specific dynamics in relation to Italy? How is the heritage of migration represented across generations? Are there parallel and imaginary life courses identified in the exchanges exploring alternative questions like, „what if migration had not been initiated?“

Among the project’s activities are the following workshops, which will provide a space for discussion and reflection. The following themes are based on the different stages involved in migration processes:

  1. Workshop: The decision to leave
  2. Workshop: Travelling, waiting, absence
  3. Workshop: Objects and symbolic gestures
  4. Workshop: The culture of food and its practices
  5. Workshop: The many forms of returning
  6. Workshop: The practices of language

The workshops will be held in English, French, and Italian, depending on the proposals received and the linguistic preferences of selected participants. The workshops are open to everyone. Both academic and non-academic individuals are encouraged to participate, with up to 12 participants per workshop.

To participate, please send a proposal that includes a primary source for analysis (letter, life writing, memoir, audio or video cassette, ICTs) together with a brief description of the source, the proposed approach/framework of analysis (500 words) and an abbreviated CV (200 words). Please indicate the workshop number you wish to participate in, and your level of proficiency of English, French, and Italian (reading and oral comprehension, and speaking and writing).

Please send your proposals before December 20, 2021 to the workshop organizers:

  • Sonia Cancian, McGill University:
  • Isabelle Felici, Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier 3:

The workshop dates will be scheduled for 2022-2023. Depending on funding available, virtual and in-person discussions will be planned. In parallel to the workshop series, the organizers are also planning other scholarly events (seminars and colloquia), publications (scientific articles/edited volume), and a digital exhibit and/or virtual archive.