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Personal profile

Research interests

My interest in stereotypes of Southern Italy and in particular Calabria started in 2012 when I taught English for a year with the British Council in Soverato (Calabria) as part of my BA in Italian at the University of St Andrews. Having been warned numerous times not to go I arrived nervous and suspicious of my surroundings. However, from day one I slowly realised that these warnings were based on prejudice and did not tally with the reality of life in the region. Since then I have been studying this prejudice and how it is experienced in Calabria; what does it feel like to be Calabrian in the face of these stereotypes? 

After my undergraduate studies I completed the MLitt in Cultural Studies with distinction at St Andrews, basing my thesis on power dynamics between refugees and locally born residents of Riace, using ethnographic methodologies. My supervisor was Prof Derek Duncan.

Currently I am writing up my thesis entitled 'Italy's 'Other': A Study of Transnational Calabrian Identity', funded by the SWWDTP. This study uses oral history interviews and textual analysis to examine the self-perception and self-representation by Calabrians of their Calabrian identity in both Calabria and Victoria, Australia in light of stereotypes of crime and 'backwardness' prevalent in the collective imaginary. My work focuses also on the problem of organised crime, in particular the 'ndrangheta (Calabria's mafia, which operates across the globe and is considered the most powerful mafia in Italy today). I look at the reality of living in areas of high mafia activity, as well as the effects of aligning entire communities with criminality in terms of their self-perception.

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