The Spaces of Citizenship: Mapping Personal and Colonial Histories in Contemporary Italy in Igiaba Scego’s La Mia Casa È Dove Sono (My Home is Where I Am)
Keywords:Second generation, national identity, postcolonial migration, Italy
As Italy has changed from emigration country to immigration destination, the growing body of literature by migrant and second generation writers plays an important role in connecting discourses on race and national identity with the country’s increasing diversity and its colonial past. This essay investigates the 2010 memoir La Mia Casa È Dove Sono (My Home is Where I Am) by Igiaba Scego, the daughter of Somali immigrants, as life writing that responds to these changing demographics and, more broadly, to the migration trends affecting contemporary Europe. The self Scego constructs through her narration integrates her Roman identity and Somali background as the narrative returns colonial history to Italian public discourse and public space. I argue that by narrating the personal and historical in the context of Roman monuments and neighborhoods, Scego’s memoir challenges and redefines who can be “Italian,” modeling a more inclusive Italianità. I discuss the memoir in terms of its use of collective memory and its development of a narrative “I” that claims a position within a collective identity while challenging the exclusionary tendencies of that very group.
This article was submitted to the European Journal of Life Writing on June 8th, 2016, and published on July 17th, 2017.
Copyright (c) 2017 Eleanor Paynter
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work.