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Pre-Occupied SpacesRemapping Italy's Transnational Migrations and Colonial Legacies$
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Teresa Fiore

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780823274321

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823274321.001.0001

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Writing the Pasta Factory and the Boardinghouse as Transnational Homes: Public and Private Acts in Melliti’s Pantanella and Mazzucco’s Vita

Writing the Pasta Factory and the Boardinghouse as Transnational Homes: Public and Private Acts in Melliti’s Pantanella and Mazzucco’s Vita

Chapter:
(p.104) Four Writing the Pasta Factory and the Boardinghouse as Transnational Homes: Public and Private Acts in Melliti’s Pantanella and Mazzucco’s Vita
Source:
Pre-Occupied Spaces
Author(s):

Teresa Fiore

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823274321.003.0007

Chapter 4 offers a joint reading of Mohsen Melliti’s 1992 novel Pantanella: Canto lungo la strada and Melania Mazzucco’s 2003 novel Vita. It examines two immigrant spaces related to actual historical events: an abandoned pasta factory occupied by immigrants in Rome and a tenement building located in New York’s Little Italy. The chapter switches from the 1990s to the early 1900s, yet stays focused on the dynamics of tension and cooperation among immigrants living in desperate conditions. The use of Henri Lefebvre’s theory of space on “habiting and use” highlights the unique combination of domestic and economic activities taking place in a residential space inhabited by immigrants (sleeping, eating, selling, exchanging, producing). In intertwining echoes of the three experiences of emigration, immigration, and colonialism, these texts show how the intimate and yet transnational space of immigrant living places preoccupies the local governments for safety and health reasons. Yet, at the same time, these spaces create unique occasions for invention out of the need for immigrants to remember and survive in a new environment.

Keywords:   emigration, immigration, Italy, Melania Mazzucco, Mohsen Melliti, New York’s Little Italy, Pantanella, tenement

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