Name: Sophie Potter
Department: Italian (Italian with International Studies)
Project Name: Women's Voices on Italian Migration: The Case of South-North Migration in Post-WW2 Italy
Supervisor: Paola Toninato & Loredana Polezzi
Why does your URSS project interest you?
Through a combination of my studies at undergraduate level and my experience of living in Italy last year, I have come to understand that there is limited information available on the female experience of the south-north migrations in Italy following the Second World War. I would like to compare media representations of female Italian migrantion experiences with real women's testimony of these, comparing them to some extent with my own experiences of living in a new culture. I lived with a woman during my year abroad in Italy who had herself migrated from Sicily and who built a successful career in radio journalism, demonstrating that the representations which I have so far encountered of such women (see the mother character in Rocco e i suoi fratelli) are very stereotypical and biased. As a woman with a passionate interest in travel and migration, I would like to extend the repertoire of female narratives on the Italian migration phenomena.
What are you hoping to achieve through your URSS project?
I hope to gain a deeper understanding of my own research capabilities and of a country and a culture whose past and present I am strongly interested in.
I hope to set in concrete an idea for my dissertation and decide whether further study after my undergraduate degree is the right option for me. If not, I hope to have gained a much stronger understanding of Italy and its people in order to be better-prepared for setting up a business there in cultural event management or wedding organisation.
I would like to create a film alongside my written report, poster and blogs, and present my findings at future conferences such as BCUR. It would be a dream if my film became a teaching resource in the Italian department at Warwick, or even in departments across the country, so that I could share my passion and my findings with those of similar interests.
What new skills are you hoping to develop?
I hope to develop my interpersonal skills, specifically my ability to interview sensitively and professionally, and also to negotiate. One challenge to my project which I envisage is difficulty on agreeing when, and where, I can work on my project whilst I am living with my hosts (my boyfriend's family). This is because there are large cultural differences between us and in the past they haven't always understood my need for personal space in order to complete assignments.
I hope to develop my academic writing skills in order to produce a publishable report at the end of the project.
I hope to improve my computer literacy skills by approaching Robert O'Toole and seeking an equipment loan and help with video editing in order to produce my film.
What contribution to knowledge could your URSS project make?
My project will even out the gender bias in current representations of Italian history and will deepen the Italian studies community's understanding of the migration phenomena overall.