Emotional Geographies of the Uncanny: Reinterpreting Italian Transnational Spaces

Maurizio Marinelli, Francesco Ricatti


Abstract

The 'Emotional Geographies of the Uncanny' section of Cultural Studies Review aims to read transnational spaces constructed and inhabited by Italian migrants and settlers to Australasia as emotional spaces of uncanny perceptions, memories, narratives and identities. Drawing inspiration from the Freudian suggestions about the uncanny (das unheimliche), and later interpretations by Heiddeger, Derrida, Kristeva, Bhabha, Žižek, and Ahmed, we refer to the uncanny as the emotional reaction to something that is, at the same time, familiar and unfamiliar, homely and unhomely. The uncanny then becomes an aesthetic frame through which experiences of migration and colonialism can be read and interpreted. How have Italians experienced the strange un/familiarity of the places to which they have migrated or that they have colonised in Australasia? And, in the process of familiarising the unfamiliar, how have they perceived the strange familiarity of the newly emerged 'Italian' spaces that they have first constructed and then inhabited, outside the boundaries of the Italian Nation, and often within the space of other essentialist Nations? Furthermore, how have they related to the places they have left in Italy: the places to which they have progressively become strangers yet have continued to constitute a central element of their subjectivity?

Keywords

Italy, Australasia, migrant, uncanny

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