Professor Ernest

Hostos Associate Professor of History and resident expert on Italy Ernest Ialongo has co-authored a fascinating and timely paper on migration in Italy with Teresa Fiore, Associate Professor of Modern Languages at Montclair State University.

The article penned by the pair serves as an introduction to three other essays they co-edited for the Journal of Modern Italian Studies, which explores migration in a country that had not received as much attention as the rest of Europe. The timeliness of the topic is not lost on Ialongo.

“The work was inspired by the topic of migration into Europe, and Italy specifically, which spiked after 2014, but because of the heated rhetoric on immigration in both Europe and America recently, the article we worked on became more relevant than we initially expected,” Ialongo said.

As for his collaboration with Professor Fiore, also the Inserra Endowed Chair in Italian and Italian American Studies at Montclair State, Fiore is a member of the Columbia University Seminar in Modern Italian Studies, where Ialongo has served as Chair for the past seven years. The seminar gives academics a chance to explore political, social, cultural, and religious aspects of Italian life. They also organized a two-day event titled “Italy and the Euro-Mediterranean Migrant Crisis” held at Columbia University and Montclair State in April 2017 with scholars from Italy, and a screening of an Italian film on the migration crisis, which included the film’s director. From that two-day event, the Journal of Modern Italian Studies requested Ialongo publish the papers.
The introduction to these papers by Ialongo and Fiore is an incredible piece of historic research that brings to light an overlooked phenomenon in the global discussion of immigration and migration.

Below is an excerpt from their contribution:

The public debate on this case [Italy’s refusal to allow a boat with migrants to dock in June 2018] is a reminder of the increasing impasse related to the question of migration, which revolves around the stark clash between pity for the desperate and rejection of the unwanted, leaving out considerations of regular, organized, sustained, and safe channels for mobility across the Mediterranean in exchange for a reliance on pure border security. It is the editors’ hope that this collection of articles helps create a more informed and productive discussion over the migrants’ condition in Italy, Europe, and the Mediterranean, its representation in the media and the arts, and the states’ responses, within an interdisciplinary and transnational framework very much in line with this journal’s approach. The editors, and the authors of the articles in this section, are conscious that the politics of migration in Italy, and Europe, is in a constant state of evolution. However, in an era that is witnessing the emergence of populist, nationalist, anti-migrant sentiments, and governing regimes, on both sides of the Atlantic (at the time of the writing of this introduction, the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump was defending its policy of separating children from their migrant parents at the U.S. border as a means to deter future migrants), we feel it is important to put Italy front and centre in this critical discussion over global migration. Italy is still a focal site for the ‘migrant crisis’, and as it develops, lessons may be learned, for good or ill, on how to address the crisis in a way that does not ignore its human components.”

Access the entire work here.

More about Professor Ernest Ialongo:
Ernest Ialongo is Associate Professor of History at Hostos Community College in The City University of New York, where he has taught since 2008. He is Chair of the Columbia University Seminar in Modern Italian Studies. He holds a Ph.D. in Modern European History from the Graduate Center of The City University of New York, and an MA and BA in History from York University (Toronto, Canada). He is the author of various articles dealing with Futurism, politics, and culture in Liberal and Fascist Italy, and has published the book Filippo Tommaso Marinetti: The Artist and his Politics with Fairleigh Dickinson University Press (2015).
His most recent work is a co-edited special issue of the Journal of Modern Italian Studies entitled “On the 80th Anniversary of the Racial Laws. Essays on Italian Fascist Anti-Semitism in Honor of Michele Sarfatti” (December 2018), and the article “Nation-Building through Antisemitism: Fascism and the Jew as the Internal Enemy” for Annali d’Italianistica (December 2018).