Color portrait of the head and torso of Matthew H. Ellis, facing forward, wearing glasses, and standing in front of an ornately decorated wall with a mirror

Matthew H. Ellis

Paul Mellon/Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Rome Prize
gennaio 11–giugno 14, 2021
Profession
Professor, Department of History, Sarah Lawrence College
Project title
In the Shadows of Italian Empire: Libya, Egypt, and the Politics of Cross-Border Migration and Exile, 1911–1970
Project description

This project illuminates a neglected dimension of the history of Italian colonialism in Libya—namely, the experience of Libyan migration to and exile in Egypt, and the critical role that Italian rule played in fostering a new era of mobility and cross-border politics between Egypt and Libya. By adopting a transnational lens, the research for this project casts new light on Libyan identity formation, Italian–Egyptian relations, and thorny questions of nationality and legal status that attended the end of Italian rule in Libya. This history has ramifications for the present-day politics of migration and refugees in North Africa and the Mediterranean; at the same time, the project contributes to the burgeoning cross-disciplinary scholarship on empire that emphasizes issues of race, nationality, and international law in the era of decolonization after World War II. As such, the project seeks to situate the Italian experience of empire more firmly within larger historical conversations.