What is it about?

This essay focuses on how domestic objects depicted by two Italian authors writing about the experience of a migrant coming-of-age in the United States, Helen Barolini and Chiara Barzini, by using diverse multilingual and (self-)translation strategies highlight the difficulties of bridging their Italian and American selfhood within an Italian household relocated abroad.

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Why is it important?

By focusing on the representation and the translation of objects identified as Italian items, my article investigates material culture by applying a translational and transnational approach to cultural and literary studies within the broader context of the studies on migration and ethnicity. It constitutes an original contribution in analyzing how objects underline how women's diasporic experience is entangled with their achievement of self-confidence and independence within the context of the Italian diaspora.


This article follows my evolution as a scholar within the context of transnational cultural studies, shifting from the strictly literary analysis of texts to the investigation of aspects related to material culture which highlight the connection between the text and the reality represented. If follows my transition from a background in comparative literature to a deeper and more dynamic ethnographic and anthropological perspective in which literature is called to represent wider phenomena of adjustments and assimilation in migration contexts.

Francesco Chianese
Cardiff University

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This page is a summary of: Italian items in domestic spaces, Translation and Interpreting Studies, May 2022, John Benjamins, DOI: 10.1075/tis.21018.chi.
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