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Stephanie Malia Hom


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critical theory
cultural studies
Travel writing

Stephanie Malia Hom

Dr. Stephanie Malia Hom is a Visiting Scholar in the Department of French & Italian for 2015-2016, while on leave from her position as Presidential Professor of Italian at the University of Oklahoma. She currently holds the Charles A. Ryskamp Research Fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies. 

My work explores what it means to live in our era of globalized mobilities, paying particular attention to questions of empire, migration, and tourism: how they produce exclusionary spaces and marginalized subjects on one hand, and on the other, how they create the structural conditions for moral-political inclusion within state and society, often by the very same means. At Stanford, I will be researching and writing my current book project, provisionally titled The Empire Between: Mobility, Colonialism, and Space in Italy & Libya, which is a study of the ways in which mobility forges an unsettling connection between Italy’s neglected colonial past and the politics of its present. I depart from the premise that mobility – and the control thereof – has become the main stratifying factor of our time and that there exist profound differences between those who move by choice and those who are moved by force. I trace the ways in which Italy’s colonial experience in Libya (1911-1943) is cited and expanded in the political constellations often taken to define the contemporary, such as global movements of people, neoliberal economic policies, and deepening inequalities in wealth and health. In particular, I focus attention on Italy’s current immigration crisis and its critical geographies (e.g., Lampedusa, migrant detention centers, nomad camps), and show how these spaces and their attendant practices of exclusion have direct roots in Italy’s colonial project.
I am also the author of The Beautiful Country: Tourism & the Impossible State of Destination Italy (U of Toronto Press, 2015). Italy is without a doubt one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations. My first book explores the enduring popularity of what I call “destination Italy,” and in particular, its crucial role in the simultaneous development of the global mass tourism industry and the modern Italian nation-state. I track the evolution of this touristic imaginary through texts, practices, and spaces, beginning with the guidebooks that frame Italy as an idealized land of leisure and finishing with destination Italy’s replication as simulacra around the world. In a similar vein, I co-edited Italian Mobilities (Routledge, 2016) with Ruth Ben-Ghiat, which is a volume that explores the ways that the power and politics of mobility have defined the Italian nation-state since Unification via three trans-historical phenomena: emigration, colonialism, and immigration. The volume's focal point is Italy's new identification as the frontline of the contemporary European crisis imaginary, that is, the border for one of the most starkly visible clashes between the already mobilized masses of the rich north and the mobilizing "undesirables" of the global south.


2007: PhD in Italian Studies, University of California, Berkeley
2002: MA in Italian Studies, University of California, Berkeley
1999: Diploma di lingua e cultura italiana, Università per Stranieri di Perugia, Italy
1997: BA with Honors in International Relations, Brown University