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Title:Paradigms of refuse: waste abjection and rejection in contemporary Italian literature and cinema
Author(s):Sciubba, Jessica
Director of Research:Rota, Emanuel
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Rota, Emanuel
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Calderwood, Eric; Rushing, Robert; Stoppino, Eleonora
Department / Program:French and Italian
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Italian studies
Contemporary Italian literature
Italian cinema
Environmental humanities
Postcolonial studies
Gender studies
Migration studies
Mediterranean studies
Abstract:“Paradigms of Refuse” explores Italy and the Mediterranean as landscapes of crisis, sites where environmental threats, social inequalities, and geopolitical turmoil converge. These landscapes are increasingly being transformed into dumping sites where the material as well as the human excess of our modern societies are discarded. In this study, I propose the concept of refuse– which refers both to the matter thrown away or rejected as worthless, as well as to the acts of refusing, declining and rejecting – as a theoretical tool to approach different dimensions of exclusion and exploitation with reference to both human beings and the natural environment. “Paradigms of Refuse” moves across these different meanings of refuse in order to offer an account of environmental and social unrest in contemporary Italy. By mapping the social as well as the material figuration of the refuse through close analysis of contemporary Italian literature and cinema, I expose not only the detrimental impact of the human over the environment, but also the ways in which the human/non-human remnants of our consumer culture can be approached in transformative ways as instruments of subversion. Refuse can become a tool to foster awareness, to shake consciences, to create discomfort and blur divides between human and non-human, nature and culture, the self and the other. Through refuse, I address the condition of the marginalized strata of the Italian society who are refused as the collateral waste of modernity while also refusing to conform to normalizing paradigms of inclusion: examples of these marginalized groups include migrants, the economically underprivileged, Roma communities, prostitutes. The employment of refuse as a theoretical tool allows to approach with coherence issues otherwise confined to distinct analytical paths, from the smuggling and disposal of waste, both human and non-human, to the insertion of the migrant, or other marginalized strata of Italian society, into the realm of worthless waste, with the consequent abjectification of the human (gendered) body.
Issue Date:2017-12-07
Rights Information:Copyright 2017 Jessica Sciubba
Date Available in IDEALS:2018-03-13
Date Deposited:2017-12

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