Annarita Taronna: “Translation and interpreting across the Mediterranean as a form of negotiation, resistance and activism”

Annarita Taronna

The massive increase in migration flows through the Afro-Mediterranean routes during the last decades have shaped previously homogeneous populations into linguistically and culturally diverse ethnoscapes. On this background, migration has strongly contributed to the acquisition and the use of English as a first, second and foreign language and to the burgeoning of new Englishes all over the world (Crystal, 1997; Trudgill et al, 2002; Jenkins, 2003) thus problematizing our traditional knowledge of language as a social projection of territorial unity held together by shared behavioral norms, beliefs and values.

Specifically, taking into account the communicative and translation processes in which 12 interviewed volunteer interpreters, translators and cultural mediators have been engaged during their interaction with newly-arrived migrants in Southern Italy, this paper addresses three main research issues concerning: a) the use of English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) in the volunteers’s practice of language and cultural mediation and the extent to which this language may be perceived either as a barrier or as a bridge, thus affecting the relationship between the mediator and the migrant and the shaping of a politics of hospitality in the Mediterranean; b) the different linguistic and extra-linguistic strategies which volunteers, translators and cultural mediators can adopt in the state of migration emergency not only to serve communicative purposes, but also to humanize the migrants’ transfer to, and internment at, the different camps across Italy; c) the interviewed language mediators’ narratives as a testimony of negotiation, activism and resistance to the strict institutionalized protocols of the Italian immigration policies.

Finally, in this work we also intend to investigate the extent to which the interviewed translators and cultural mediators form not a mere aggregation of individuals achieving the task of translation as a mere linguistic transfer, but a ‘living’ network held together by a conscious and critical sense of the performative power of their words and their mediation conceived as a way to create meanings which form and transform human reality.

[1] Abstract di articolo di pubblicazione per il volume a cura di M.G.Guido, La mediazione linguistica interculturale in materia di immigrazione e asilo, Lingue e Linguaggi 11 (2015), ISSN 2239-0367, e-ISSN 2239-0359,, © 2015 Università del Salento, Lecce, pp.73-89.

Paola Zaccaria: (Trans)MediterrAtlantic Embodied Archives


This article tests a comparative and trans-disciplinary methodology I am developing for a research project titled ‘Un-Walling the Mediterranean Sea. New Southern performances: towards a no-border wall poetics and politics of togetherness’. The article investigates ways to develop and make visible MediterrAtlantic theories and performances inspired by grass-roots activism and artivism in order to disrupt Eurocentric geopolitical cartography. To this end, I will make reference to many (de)signs disseminated by trans-Mediterranean intellectuals, activists, artists, migrants and refugees along the Mediterranean routes and walls, as a way to shape both an Asian-African-European Mediterranean consciousness and a new TransMediterrAtlantic one. Finally, I will use as a case study Io sto con la Sposa, a docufiction on the experience of asylum seeking in Europe, by Antonio
Augugliaro, Gabriele del Grande and Khaled Soliman (2014)


Le Simplegadi Global South ‘in Theory’ and Southern Epistemology by Luigi Cazzato

Abstract I: This essay offers a reflection on the ‘global South’ category, starting from Culture and Imperialism by Edward Said to finish with the last work by Jean and John Comaroff Theory from the South, thus joining the contemporary theoretical debate on the future of the ‘southern world’. Since the time of Said, the planet has seen radical changes and the East-West axis of the Cold War has been replaced by the postcolonial North-South axis, with the added complication of the rise of China as a global economic power in the East. This essay tries to untangle such complications through the positions of, among others, Achille Mbembe, reflecting on the fate of Africa as linked to that of China, and of Franco Cassano, with his hope in a southern epistemology, not yet devoured by capitalist fundamentalism.

2014_Simplegadi_Global south in theory

Heading south: theory, Viva Riva! and District 9 by Pier Paolo Frassinelli

This article begins by reflecting on how the geopolitical configuration outlined in Edward Said’s Culture and imperialism (1993) has been radically altered both by the decline of the US empire and, in conjunction with it, by what Jean and John Comaroff describe, in the subtitle of Theory from the south (2012), as Euro-America’s evolution toward Africa. From there, the article turns to Viva Riva! (2010) and District 9 (2009), two films that appropriate the conventions of Hollywood blockbusters to produce cinematic narratives set in contemporary
African urban landscapes which lend themselves to be viewed through the lens of recent theoretical debates on the becoming global of the south. These films’ gazes produce an image of African cities that is legible as a dystopic vision of the global future.

Heading south


Contemporary Europe is again haunted by the old stereotypes of
corrupted southerners and virtuous northerners, lazy Mediterraneans and vigorous
Teutons. This paper aims to survey these tropes among current academic and
public debates, from postcolonial and southern studies perspectives. These labels
and views have to do with discursive formations such as orientalism and
meridionism, and stretch back to the Mediterranean colonial history dominated by
northern modernity. Terms like “change”, “innovation”, “modernity” on one
hand, and “immobility”, “tradition”, “backwardness” on the other, can be easily
and predictably attributed to the two geo-cultural spaces. Nevertheless, our task is
less attributing the right category to the right side than disrupting the whole
paradigm, under the pressure of the migrations from the South.

2013_IJCCSEC_For a border dialogue in fortress europe


Il saggio prova ad affrontare la vexata questio meridionale alla luce di quello che è
stato il dibattito italiano negli ultimi anni a partire dai benevoli influssi degli studi
postcoloniali e del cosiddetto “pensiero meridiano”. Partendo dall’imagery africana
dominante (orientalista e non) con cui spesso il sud d’Italia è stato descritto
(immagini legate all’idea di natura selvaggia e cultura arretrata), si cerca di
leggere lo scontro awenuto fra modernità e tradizione attraverso le categorie
gramsciane egemonia/subalternità e l’ermeneutica del ri-morso di E. De Martino.
Questo approccio sembra di interrogare e valutare meglio la storia del famigerato
“ritardo” del Mezzogiorno, storicamente misurato attraverso i parametri
“settentrionali” dell’ideologia modernista del progresso, e, soprattutto, di rimuovere
quel velo culturale che impedisce di vedere la storia di questa regione del
Mediterraneo come storia postcoloniale. Infine , si cerca di raccontare che cosa
awiene quando il sud italiano (che è però nord del pianeta) e quello globale si
incontrano, e che cosa questa esperienza potrebbe insegnare al pianeta, inteso
demartinianamente, come terra globale del rimorso.

2008_ISSA – Questione meridionale and global south