Gender and mobility across the Mediterranean and the Red sea (19th and 20th century): Italy, Libya and Eritrea

Postdoctoral project supervised by Carlotta Sorba (Nov 2019-Oct 2021)

Silvia Bruzzi

The research project aims to examine human mobility phenomena that have crossed the Mediterranean and the Red Sea, from the late 19th century to World War II, focusing on the histories and experiences of Eritrean and Libyan women. Adopting a gender perspective and crossing visual sources (postcards, family photographs, newsreels, ethnographic documentaries) and written sources (legal literature and judicial archives in Arabic and Italian), the research will show that female actors are essential to understand the circulation of ideas, images and subjects across Italy, Eritrea and Libya. The scopes of the research are twofold. On the one hand, the analysis will highlight the impact of mobility phenomena (of ideas, images and people) on the social and legal status of Eritrean and Libyan women in the colonial context. On the other hand, it will trace and reconstruct the transnational trajectories of “exceptional normal” women who have crossed this space, subverting or inhabiting the social and legal norms.