Vico Lecture to focus on Italy’s role in Mediterranean’s Black diaspora

people sitting in a lecture hall

Leading scholar Angelica Pesarini will deliver the 2023 Vico Lecture at York University on exploring the presence of Italy in the Black Mediterranean.

A public event presented by the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies (LA&PS), the lecture returns in-person and online on March 21. Entitled “Italy and the Black Mediterranean: Race, identity and citizenship,” Pesarini’s keynote address will consider a racialized physical and symbolic space marked by histories of colonialism and diasporic memories. 

Pesarini is an assistant professor in race and cultural studies, race and diaspora and Italian studies at the University of Toronto and works on the intersections of race, gender, citizenship and identity in Italy. Her work explores dynamics of race performativity with a focus on colonial and postcolonial Italy. She also investigates the racialization of the Italian political discourse on immigration.

Previous to joining University of Toronto, Pesarini was a faculty member at NYU in Florence, Italy where she taught Black Italia, a cross-disciplinary course that explores issues of “race,” identity and citizenship, drawing from sociology, history, critical race theory, gender studies and cultural studies.

Active in anti-racist debates in Italy, she is the author of several publications on issues of race in Italy, both in English and Italian, and is a member of The Black Mediterranean Collective, which just published The Black Mediterranean: Bodies, Borders, and Citizenship (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2021). 

The Vico Lecture is an important link between York University and the broader community, particularly those of Italian descent. The Vico Lecture is named after 18th-century Italian philosopher Giambattista Vico, a social science pioneer and author of the groundbreaking work The New Science.

The Vico Lecture has welcomed such distinguished speakers as Maurizio Bevilacqua, mayor of Vaughan, Ont., Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne and Canadian author and former politician Michael Ignatieff.

This year’s Vico Lecture will be hosted by David Mutimer, associate dean, Faculty Affairs in LA&PS, with a Q-and-A period moderated by Abril Liberatori, Mariano A. Elia Chair in Italian-Canadian Studies and assistant professor of Italian Studies.

Faculty, students and the public are invited to attend on March 21 at 7 p.m.  All are welcome. To register for this event (either to attend virtually via Zoom or in-person at York’s Keele campus), go to the Vico Lecture Series website