Abstract

"Through the lens of a historical investigation and the evolution of a particular migration route, the present MPT wants to delve deeper into some of the unexplored features, dimensions and complexities of modern Sicilian and Tunisian history, to contextualise and add new angles to the overall history of the Central Mediterranean in the 20th century and to highlight the relevance of the Mediterranean as a relevant object of analysis for the understanding of 20th century history . The central subject of the research is the intersection between the disappearance of the Sicilian community of Tunisia and the onset of Tunisian migration towards Sicily. The analysis of these two migratory phenomena starting almost simultaneously around the mid-1960s, represents the core of the present Research Proposal. The MPT retraces the history of contacts, movements and migration in the Channel of Sicily from the 1950s to the 1980s. No historical work has been devoted to this subject until now. Therefore, this research draws both on diverse secondary literature and on primary sources coming from the Italian Archives of the State in Rome, the National Archives of Tunisia of Tunis and other archives in both Italy and Tunisia. Beyond the traditional archival work, this project is also based on oral history methods. The result of a series of interview held in Tunisia among the heirs of the Sicilian-Tunisian community are presented in this proposal. The main hypothesis stemming from this investigation is that contrary to popular opinion, the Central Mediterranean is not a "wall" dividing Europe from the Maghreb. The significant continuity of human movement in the Channel of Sicily during the 20th century, shows and proves that the Channel of Sicily is a transnational space characterised by many permanent links and bonds. These invisible threads which both fostered and grew through migration movements are the object of the present analysis."

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