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The invention of a diaspora: the case of Arbëresh


This project will study the formation of the Arbëresh minority, currently one of the twelve officially recognized linguistic minorities in Italy.
This proposal aims to address the problem of identity construction as started by diverse immigrant groups that, notwithstanding their common origin roughly corresponding to present-day Albania, were at first very different from one another in terms of religion, culture and language.
In particular, this research will allow to critically reconsider the concept of diaspora. Scholars have so far analyzed diaspora phenomena as coherent units of geographically dispersed people bound by sentiment, culture and history. On the contrary, this project aims to demonstrate that the cultural identity of a diaspora is not necessarily formed by the dispersion of ethnically homogeneous groups, but it is rather the result of a long-term process that can take place in the host countries.
The project is divided into three parts.
The first part studies the Albanian emigration to Southern Italy in the fifteenth and sixteenth century and the foundation of rural communities on Italian territory by immigrants.
The second part examines the period of the Counter-Reformation. The Albanian colonies became part of the Catholic Church, but at the same time they adopted a particular religious rite, the so-called Greek rite, which has distinguished them from the Catholic majority. The result was the birth of a Uniate Catholic Church in 1595, which brought together the various Albanian colonies in Italy.
The third part studies the achievement of ethnic identity in the seventeenth century, on the basis of the religious identity.
The project will be carried out at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris, which is currently engaged in several international and European research projects focused on the history of diasporas. The main expected result is the preparation of a book that will be the fourth monograph of the researcher

Call for proposal

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54 Bd Raspail
75270 Paris 6

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Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Administrative Contact
Chloe Borgel (Ms.)
EU contribution
€ 260 758,80