From the European South

a transdisciplinary journal of postcolonial humanities

Dis/fare l’archivio islamofobico delle relazioni anglo-meridionali: smurare il Mediterraneo

Luigi Cazzato


Un/doing the islamophobic archive of Anglo-Southern relations: unwalling the Mediterranean Sea. This essay is an excavation into what I call the “Anglo-Southern Relations” archive and is part of a research project called “Un/walling the Mediterranean Sea: local and transnational practices of transcultural ARTivist poetics and politics of hospitality.” Specifically, it is a critical reading of some English travelogues, whose authors visited the Mezzogiorno during the second half of the 20th century. I will examine this archive in search of the meridionist gaze (Pfister, Cazzato) that has informed the relations between England and Italy since the 18th century. It is through this archive that modern Europe has constructed itself against the Mediterranean Other (European and non European). A propos of Orientalism and Islam, Spivak argues that “Orientalism equals racial profiling equals the demonization of Islam.” In the Italian context, the equation can be translated in this way: “Meridionism equals racial profiling equals the demonization of Southern Europeans as inner Arabs or Africans.” Therefore, my aim is to see how one of the main categories of the meridionist repertoire – islamophobia – is at work and whether the Mediterranean epistemology of crossroads (Braudel, Cassano, Chambers) may be a way out of the clash of fundamentalisms. Also, this sort of wall-archive could be evaded through the postcolonial (Young) and decolonial epistemology (Quijano, Mignolo), which may play a crucial role for the present migratory question and the deconstruction of “Fortress Europe,” whose cultural walls are being built by meridionist “bricklayers” at any latitude.




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