Federica Di Blasio received her PhD in Italian literature and cinema from the University of California, Los Angeles. She has held appointments as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Italian at Hamilton College, NY and Instructor of Italian at the University of Georgia. Prior to moving to the US, Federica earned her BA in Modern European Literatures (University of Bologna, Italy; University of Tours, France) and MA in Modern Philology (with honors) at the University of Bologna.

Federica’s research focuses on individuals’ relation to places and how this responds to or is shaped by different forms of mobility. She has published peer-reviewed scholarship on migration, translation, and geophilosophical representations of the Mediterranean. Examples include ‘Cesare Pavese: Homo Mediterraneus?’ in Italian Culture (2023) and ‘Passeurs: Narratives of Border Crossings in the Western Alps’ in California Italian Studies (2019). In her dissertation, she developed a local/global approach to analysing texts by Cesare Pavese, Pier Paolo Pasolini, and Gianni Celati, which made her reconsider the role of scales in the humanities and specifically their relevance to the field of Transnational Modern Languages.

Provincializing the National: Geographic Scales Behind Metaphors of Roots
ICI Project 2024-26

Metaphors of roots can be seen as a form of reduction of individual and collective experience, as well as a privileged object of inquiry for a ‘scale-sensitive’ approach to texts. While the category of the national is most often used to locate a text within a certain linguistic tradition or place, different and simultaneous geographic scales contribute to the geopolitical unconscious of a text. This is the case not only in narratives of diasporas, but also in texts where the mobility of others is implicitly used to articulate a certain understanding of a place, community, or self.

As botanical images that speak of a sense of belonging to the nurturing soil of the Earth, metaphors of roots condense and negotiate the tension between the locality and groundedness of a place on the one hand, and transregional, transnational, and potentially global forms of mobility on the other. Where to draw a line to delimit locality, and how citizenship, class, gender, and race determine access to different forms of mobility are open questions that make metaphors of roots diverse and powerful in their poetic, narrative, and political uses.