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La mia casa è dove sono: subjects and narratives beyond national borders

journal contribution
posted on 2011-01-01, 00:00 authored by P Carroli, Vivian GerrandVivian Gerrand
Overcoming the trauma of uprooting was a common preoccupation of earlier immigrant fiction which still recurs. In post 2000 fictions and nar- ratives written by Italians of immigrant extraction – we take as our focus Kaha Mohamed Aden’s Fra-Intendimenti and Igiaba Scego’s writing – there is a critical comparison of the different cultures and generational values and the claim for new spaces and new subjectivities, along the lines of the nomadic figuration and flexible citizenship proposed by Rosi Braidotti. The literary domains are closely linked with the historical and political domains and the theoretical approach adopted: Braidotti’s figurations of ‘nomadic subjectivity’ and ‘nomadic ethics’. In a seemingly sim- ilar vein, Somali born author Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s most recent book draws on the idea of nomadism and bears the title Nomad: A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations (2010). Rather than opening up the ways in which identity is imagined as Braidotti is interested in doing, however, Hirsi Ali reinforces Samuel Huntington’s famous Clash of Civilizations thesis which theorizes, in particular, incompatibilities between the monotheistic religions. Aden’s Fra-Intendimenti and Scego’s La mia casa è dove sono, also published in 2010, are similarly preoccupied with how we imagine identity. The idea that home is where one finds oneself presents a departure from Huntington’s paradigm which extends nationalistic tropes of blood ties that are evident in Italian jus sanguinis citizenship laws, where to be Italian, one must have Italian blood. To be at home, in Aden’s and Scego’s works, means to accept that one’s identity is produced as much by one’s heritage as it is by one’s trajectory. This idea has been explored across multicultural and postcolonial bodies of literature over the past few decades. Aden’s and Scego’s positioning as Italian Somali writers within a context of a nation that has neglected to acknowledge its colonial past speaks to and with this lit- erature. Scego’s oeuvre addresses Italy’s colonial legacy with the Horn of Africa while simultaneously challenging attitudes towards migrants in Italy who are construed in the mass media as a threat to Italian society. Aden’s writing also negotiates and produces new forms of Italianness, and with them, understandings of identity as complex, dynamic and nomadic.

History

Journal

Scritture migranti: rivista di scambi interculturali

Volume

5

Location

Bologna, Italy

ISSN

2037-5042

Language

English, French, Italian

Publication classification

C2 Other contribution to refereed journal

Copyright notice

[2011, CLUEB]

Publisher

Cooperativa libraria universitaria editrice Bologna

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