Research Workshop | The Creative Investment of Multiculturalism and the Transnational

11 September, 2014
4.15pm - 5.15pm

Paolo Bartoloni
National University of Ireland, Galway

In multiculturalism, as Michael Cronin has argued, “the community constitutes both the grounds for access to entitlements and the primary framework for self-definition.” (2006) The experience of the transnational is instead characterized by “multiple activities – economic, political, cultural, personal – that require sustained contacts and travel across national borders” (Sara Ahmed et all, 2003: 3) While the community plays a vital and essential role in the context of multiculturalism, individual skills, abilities and knowledge appear to be the essential traits of the transnational. While these two existential conditions and categories seem very different, typifying a historical shift in the definition and self-actuation of identity, they have something in common. They are linked to the experience of uprooting and regrounding, and yet they respond to this same experience in ways and by employing creative processes that are markedly different. After providing a general discussion and definition of multiculturalism, cosmopolitanism and the transnational, I will argue that it is by interrogating the creative process of imaginative and symbolic representation of the experience of uprooting and regrounding that a meaningful and potentially empowering distinction can be made between multiculturalism and the transnational, opening the ways for future engagements and investments in the creative process of in-between agents.

Paolo Bartoloniis Established Professor of Italian Studies at the National University of Ireland, Galway. Previously he taught in Italian and Comparative Literature at the University of Sydney where he was Founding Director of the program in International and Comparative Literary Studies.He has published extensively on continental theory and philosophy, especially the works of Giorgio Agamben, Walter Benjamin, Martin Heidegger, Gianni Vattimo, and Mario Perniola, and their impact on the reception of authors such as Blanchot, Calvino, Caproni, and Svevo. His books and articles investigate temporal and spatial thresholds, stressing the inherent potentiality and interstitiality of modern art.

He is currently working on two book projects, the first on thingness and material culture in Italian Life and culture, and the second on the relation between subjectivity and world in Italo Svevo’s novel Zeno’s Conscience. Together with Dr Francesco Ricatti (University of the Sunshine Coast) is also conducting research on place-making and transcultural expression.

Bartoloni is ACIS Honorary Research Associate. His visit in Australia was made possible thanks to the generous contribution of the University of The Sunshine Coast as part of Bartoloni’s ongoing collaboration with Dr Francesco Ricatti.

Bartoloni is the author of On the Cultures of Exile, Translation and Writing (Purdue UP, 2008); Interstitial Writing: Calvino, Caproni, Sereni and Svevo (Troubador Publishing, 2003); editor of Re-Claiming Diversity: Essays on Comparative Literature (La Trobe University, 1996), co-editor of Intellectuals and Publics: Essays on Cultural Theory and Practice (La Trobe University, 1997); and the thematic issue of the journal CLCWeb Ambiguity in Culture and Literature (Purdue University Press, 2010). For more information on and publications by Paolo Bartoloni see

Part of the series Writing the World: Transnationalism & Translation in Literary Studies.

Location: SLC Common Room 524, level 5 Brennan MacCallum Building

Contact:Professor Peter Morgan