Roma’scapes: Geographies of Mobility in Urban Wildness

Roma’scapes: Geographies of Mobility in Urban Wildness

PhD Project supervised by Chiara Rabbiosi (2020-2024)

Urban wildness is a little explored topic because of its very nature. One reason for this neglect is to be found in urban wildness both as a dynamic concept as well as an ever-changing entity. How to study a mobile and innately undefined object? Rather than considering it merely as a forgotten space or a natural resource, this project aims to interact with urban wildness as a subject. To foster a relational approach, the project explores urban wildness going through it and involving all senses in the production of knowledge.

A preliminary part of the research will focus on the evaluation of methods and instruments of enquiry, their capabilities and limits of observing and recording this mobile subject: from fieldwork diary to photography, from audio-visual methods to performance.

Going deeper, the project will attempt to build a relationship with urban wildness inhabitants, such as plants, animals and people. It is in fact their entanglement that makes urban wildness a living, dynamic, mobile subject. Collaborative labs will be opened on the field to enquiry and enhance a collective representation of urban wildness ‘from inside it’. Finally, the project will pay special attention in the making of synesthetic artefacts, out of the multiple wildness representations archived, to disseminate this new knowledge.

The research will be developed by specific case studies, in different European cities, following the footprint of the stereotypical “nomads” that are believed to be the main inhabitants of urban wildness: the Roma. Are Roma the only living in urban wildness? Who is living on the move in contemporary cities? Is mobility a choice?

The interaction with urban wildness, in different contexts, will open new possibilities of conceiving and representing the geographies of mobility in the contemporary city, raising the issue that to live on the move mainly means a restriction on the very possibilities of movement in contemporary Europe.


Mobility and movements of escaping sullan proscripts

Mobility and movements of escaping sullan proscripts

PhD project supervised by Luca Fezzi e Federico Santangelo (2020-2024)

Andrea Frizzera

At the beginning of a century in which Rome is almost fully aware of its mediterranean dimension, we can observe the exploitation of the possibilities of movement that the Mare nostrum’s new political configuration can offer. This concerns the commerce, the cultural exchanges, the migrations, but also political refugees. This project wants to conduct an investigation on this last category. So, starting from the existent prosopographic studies, it will be necessary to revisit the ancient sources (literary, epigraphic, numismatic) and the modern studies on sullan proscripts, in order to travel beside them the ways that bring them to find rescue in different places in the Mediterranean sea. This will lead us not only to draw a map (thanks also to digital tools and methods) of proscripts’ movements, but also to understand which choices (political, moral, economic choices), feature their lives in the new contexts in which they finally settle. So, we will be able to appreciate how the proscripts’ mobility resulted very conditioned and it had peculiar features compared to the other displacement typologies. We also hope that such a kind of research could contribute, in a different perspective, to enrich the debate on the political significance of the sullan proscriptions and on the consequences they caused in the Roman world. Finally, we do not exclude the possibility that, by adopting such a kind of approach, the research focus could expand to 43 BC proscriptions.


Can Refugees Save the World? Post-Development Approaches to livelihood from Palestinian Refugee Camps in Lebanon

Can Refugees Save the World? Post-Development Approaches to livelihood from Palestinian Refugee Camps in Lebanon

PhD project supervised by Paola Minoia (2019-2022)

Yafa El Masri

A growing number of academics across the globe now share the conviction that the mainstream notion of development needs to be deconstructed to open a way for cultural alternatives that nurture and respect different forms of life on Earth (Kothari et al, 2019). The concept of post-development, which is squarely rooted in solidarity, has appeared as a way to defend the local against the global, giving value to community economics, human wellbeing and local traditions (Mathews, 2017). And while refugees have long been silenced by the humanitarian government and widely portrayed solely as recepients of humanitarian aid (Agier, 2011: Rajaram, 2002: Silvermann, 2008), this study rather explores innovative post development approaches to managing space and livelihood practiced by refugees, and even identifies the expansion of solidarity-based initiatives to the refugee hosting communities. This study attempts to demonstrate how refugees are agents of their own space and post development through a strong base of solidarity, rootedness and collective emplacement. This study takes Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon as case of observation, utilizes postcolonial methods and Donna Haraway’s feminist concept of situated knowledge, to reflect on my own positioned rationality of growing up as a stateless Palestinian refugee in Lebanon’s refugee camps. Using long term participation observation, auto-ethnography and interviews in Lebanon and Europe’s Palestinian refugee community, the study finds that solidarity-based dynamics (cooperation values, food sharing and gift economies) tend to be increasingly replacing the shrinking humanitarian development aid and market activities within Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon. Then, if “grassroots solidarity can transform the world” and if “Another world is possible”, and possibly another world is even necessary, along these lines, can refugees help change the world?

 

Keywords: Refugees, Livelihood, Post-Development, Pluriverse, Refugee Agency


Libertas libertina. Homosexuality and Libertinism in the University of Padova

Libertas libertina. Homosexuality and Libertinism in the University of Padova

PhD project supervised by Paola Molino and Mario Infelise (2019-2022)

Michele Visentin

Between the 16th and the 17th centuries, the University of Padova and some cultural circles of the city represented a major centre of dissemination of Libertinism ideas throughout Europe. This movement, even if very heterogeneous, is characterized by some common denominators, e.g. the impossibility to base ethics on religious dogmas, and the interest for direct observation of nature – including the human body.

How far did this cultural climate encourage a relative tolerance (or at least a moral indifference) for homosexuality?  And if so, did this relative tolerance influence the mobility toward Padua of Italian and European students, professors, intellectuals?

The hardest problem of this research is to identify the sources and to analyse them from an unusual perspective. For centuries the expressions of homosexuality have been simply effaced, except for the criminal law. Hence, the necessity to adopt an interdisciplinary approach to find the “echo” of dissident sexualities in different kind of texts and environments.


The Brazilian sugar: A good that crossed the Atlantic in the early modern age (17th century)

The Brazilian sugar: A good that crossed the Atlantic in the early modern age (17th century)

PhD project supervised by Luciano Pezzolo (Università Ca' Foscari, Venezia) (2019-2022)

Alessandro Favatà

The research project investigates the trans-national networks existing between the Italian peninsula and the New World during the 17th century. The analysis of the diffusion and success of specific consumer goods appears to be one of the most appropriate and comprehensive methods for studying these phenomena. Combining a micro and macro-historical approach, the research will focus on the different moments of the sugar commodity chain, from its production to its consumption. A great importance will also be given to the flow of men, credit and information that accompanied and sustained the life of the crop. By analysing travel reports, correspondences, customs registers, culinary and medical recipes, account ledgers of merchants and Libri di commercio e di famiglia  [provide translation, e.g. Trade and family books], the project will investigate how the Italian peninsula and its inhabitants came in touch with this product and the evolving social impact that sugar had on consumption practices.