Rethinking borders: Africa in Rome

17th September 2018

Studio Solipsis

18 October 2018



In the frame of the exhibition to be [defined] we are very happy to host a talk and a reading with the anthropologist Giulia Casentini and the anthropologist and librarian Giulia Riva, from Libreria Griot, in Rome.

As they pointed out, there is an ancient bond between Rome and the African continent.

The evening will be dedicated to a consideration of this long-standing connection between the two regions, in light of how they are influenced by present-day dynamics of inclusion and exclusion, as fomented by contemporary national politics. On the one hand, these policies serve to isolate and criminalise. But on the other, they can also serve as a trigger to stimulate a counter-reaction, in the form of good practices involving both Italians and migrants, who choose to follow a common trajectory. This has also sparked a discussion on the internal borders that delineate the city of Rome. As bookshop engaged with promoting literature and cultural production from Africa and the Arab world, Libreria Griot is one example of such a successful collaboration. Griot succeeds in strengthening that age-old relationship between continents by also promoting a different image of people from Africa, emphasising their position as producers of culture.   


The talk will be in English and will be accompanied by readings taken from:


- Igiaba Scego, (Somalia-Italia) - “Sweden”, in Roma d'autore, Morellini editore.

- Saleh Addonia (Eritrea) - Lei è un altro paese/She is another country, Casagrande editore

- Pap Khouma (Senegal-Italia) - Io, venditore di elefanti/I, elephants seller, Dalai editore.

- Giulia Casentini, Al di là del fiume. Storia e antropologia di un confine africano (Ghana and Togo)/ Beyond the river. History and Anthropology of an African border, Viella editore. 



Giulia Riva was born in Rome. After securing her first degree in Anthropology in 2007 with a dissertation focused on Malta’s entry into the European Union, Riva began working at Libreria Griot, a bookshop in Rome which specialises in Middle Eastern and African diaspora.


 Giulia Casentini is an anthropologist. She holds a PhD from the University of Siena (Italy) where she conducted a fieldwork-based research in  West Africa on space and mobility, border construction, politics and rituality. She lectured at the University of Pavia (Italy) as a post-doc research fellow (2011-2016), and she is currently adjunct professor at Tor Vergata University, Rome, where she teaches 'Migration and Mobility'. Since 2011, Casentini has been collaborating with Laboratorio 53 onlus, dealing with the management of migration fluxes in Italy and the production of a critical discourse on the phenomenon.