Migration, Empathy, and Body Performance in the Italian Language Classroom

By: Marzia Bagnasco  

Migration is one of the most challenging social, political, and cultural issues to approach and discuss in today’s Italian language classroom. It requires not only vast knowledge about the complex phenomenon as it pertains to a large geographical area, but also preparation for students’ reactions and resistance. Nevertheless, with refugees and migrants constantly at the center of the media attention, this topic has become central to many educators’ daily work, especially in the context of a foreign\second language learning. This presentation proposes a drama-based lesson plan that treats migratory phenomena in the Mediterranean Sea as it is represented in Italian cultural products such as music, literature, poetry, videos, and film. Through the structured sequencing of different authentic audio-visual inputs, students will be guided into and through an "empathetic", "performative" and "narrative" path that encourages them to reflect upon migration experiences to\from Italy by engaging their minds and bodies in the cultural space of the classroom. The main objectives of this presentation are to : 1) offer a viable and effective model of foreign language pedagogy; 2) discuss the advantages and disadvantages of performative-based teaching to confront controversial and “foreign” subjects such as the refugees’ crisis in Europe, and 3) encourage a multidisciplinary debate on how to theorize and practice pedagogies that address migration in all its facets.

#migration #bodyperformace #italian
Education and Learning in a World of Difference
Workshop Presentation

Marzia Bagnasco

United States
Indiana, United States

My name is Marzia Bagnasco, I am Italian born in Palermo, Sicily, but I live in North America to pursue a Ph.D in Italian studies at Indiana University in Bloomington. As a doctoral student, I am interested in: Critical thoery and Cultural geography, with a specific focus on space, place and media, refugees and migration, and place-based pedagogy. I love teaching Italian language and culture, and I am passionate about researching on migration to Sicily in movies, art, music, and culture.