Emotional Geographies of the Uncanny: Reinterpreting Italian Transnational Spaces

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Maurizio Marinelli
Francesco Ricatti


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?

Article Details

Emotional Geographies of the Uncanny (Peer Reviewed)
Author Biography

Maurizio Marinelli, University of Sussex

Maurizio Marinelli is Associate Professor in East Asian History at the University of Sussex, UK. He is also a Visiting Fellow at the Australian Center on China in the World at the Australian National University. He specialises in contemporary China’s intellectual and urban history. His research investigates how China’s relations with the rest of the world have influenced historical narratives and shaped ways of representing each other within their respective intellectual discourses. He is currently working on the socio-spatial transformation of the port city of Tianjin from the foreign concessions era (1860-1945) to the present.