From the European South

a transdisciplinary journal of postcolonial humanities

Corpo critico: pensare ai limiti dell’Europa

Marta Cariello


The critical body: thinking at the limits of Europe. A reflection on contemporary postcolonial studies in Italy must necessarily attend to the geographies of dislocation that, for at least twenty years now, have been re-drawing the material and cultural borders of Italy and of Europe. The critical issue at stake regards not only the hundreds of thousands of unheeded stories of migrants, whose routes and lives are determined by the global and mutating orders of finance capitalism and the industry of war; it also regards the physical, ‘pre-juridic’ presence itself of migrants. The “arrivants” that Derrida writes about, always-already defined by the constant gesture of “arriving,” constitute, with their very presence, the critical question of European Modernity. My analysis looks at the migrant body as a ‘critical body’: that which was, in the 1990s, the cyborg, the (possibly now realized?) vision of the virtual body and its critical implications appears now to be fleshed out in the hypermateriality of the ‘different’ body, that posits itself in a seemingly constant shipwreck on the shores of Southern Europe. How does this body intervene in Italian postcolonial critical theory? How does it interact with the critical discourses on national identity, the nation-state, cultural hegemony? How does the border that is carried on the migrant body re-write ‘our’ critical theory? My research attempts to look at these sites of critical articulation from the perspectives of Mediterranean Studies and border studies, interrogating postcolonial theory in light of the specific geocritical dislocations of Southern Europe.




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