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Durham University

Department of Anthropology


Dr Alessandro Corso

Honorary Fellow in the Department of Anthropology

Contact Dr Alessandro Corso

My work examines states of absence/presence, life at the borderlands and ordinary ethics, with a focus on the island of Lampedusa and the sea crossing of refugees from North Africa to Europe. My doctoral thesis, 'Lives at the Border: Abandonment and Survival at the Frontier of Lampedusa', offers an ethnographic description of the contemporary struggles that undocumented migrants, migration workers, and locals experience within the contemporary and ongoing phenomenon of forced migration through the Mediterranean Sea. The thesis, which I aim to turn into a published monograph during my ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Oxford Department of International Development, ultimately explores how people on the island of Lampedusa respond when faced with difficult borderland situations including via contradictory gestures of individualism and mutuality, indifference and love.

I have also written short pieces for artists and theatre performers about fear and indifference based on fieldnotes, and developed collaborative projects exploring the role that art and anthropology play in impactfully disseminating knowledge on irregular migration. My current project at ODID examines how contemporary encounters with various remains of undocumented migrants by locals in Lampedusa generate distance or allow for mutuality in the context of forced migration in the Mediterranean. In particular, it focuses on exploring new forms of dissemination going beyond academia, by collaborating with aid workers, artists and activists working at the frontier.

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