Sie sind hier: FRIAS Fellows Fellows 2021/22 Prof. Dr. Pamela Ballinger

Prof. Dr. Pamela Ballinger

University of Michigan
History of Human Rights

External Senior Fellow (Marie S. Curie FCFP)
Oktober 2021 - Dezember 2021

Raum 01 008
Tel. +49 (0)761 - 203 97401


Pamela Ballinger is Professor of History and the Fred Cuny Chair in the History of Human Rights in the Department of History at the University of Michigan. She holds degrees in Anthropology (B.A. Stanford University, M. Phil Cambridge University, M.A. Johns Hopkins University) and a joint Ph.D. in Anthropology and History (Johns Hopkins). She is the author of History in Exile: Memory and Identity at the Borders of the Balkans (Princeton University Press, 2003), La Memoria dell’Esilio (Veltro Editrice, 2010), and The World Refugees Made: Decolonization and the Foundation of Postwar Italy (Cornell University Press, 2020). She has published in a wide range of journals, including Austrian History Yearbook, Comparative Studies in Society and History, Contemporary European History, Current Anthropology, Journal of Contemporary History, Journal of Modern Italian Studies, Journal of Refugee Studies, Journal of Tourism History, and Past and Present. Her research has been funded by fellowships from the American Academy in Rome (Rome Prize), American Council of Learned Societies, the Center for Advanced Studies in Behavioral Sciences (Stanford University), Fulbright Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Social Science Research Council, among others. Her areas of expertise include human rights, forced migration, refugees, fascism, seaspace, and modern Mediterranean and Balkan history.

Publikationen (Auswahl)

  • History in Exile: Memory and Identity at the Borders of the Balkans (Princeton University Press, 2003)

  • The World Refugees Made: Decolonization and the Foundation of Postwar Italy (Cornell University Press, 2020)

  • La Memoria dell’Esilio (Veltro Editrice, 2010)


Materializing Empire: Infrastructures of Italian Fascism

With its modest record of “achievements” and relative brevity, Mussolini’s empire is often treated as almost a rhetorical construct more than a material reality. Assessments of environmental and other material interventions into Overseas Italy thus remain relatively scarce, in contrast to expansive bodies of work on the environment, infrastructure and transport for other modern imperial experiments, as well as a nascent literature on the environmental impacts of authoritarian regimes. Materializing Empire takes up neglected questions of how fascist Italy altered the land and seascapes of its overseas territories in the pursuit of a form of infrastructural power that drew upon both monumentalism and scientific expertise.

In interrogating what infrastructural power meant and how it undergirded fascist empire, this project does more than just fill a gap by bringing Italian colonialism into dialogue with the growing body of literature on the “coloniality of infrastructure.” Rather, the project employs infrastructure as both concept and object of analysis to render a new way of considering fascism and, possibly, even state and imperial power. By focusing on its materialities, Italian empire emerges not merely as a revivified dream of Roman greatness or an expansionist military machine. It figures instead as a complex and uneven assemblage of land and seascapes linked together within an economic system guided by autarchy. This perspective offers a new vantage point from which to intervene into long-standing scholarly debates about continuities between the Italian liberal and fascist regimes, the supposed exceptionalism of Italian colonialism, and Italy’s postcolonial legacies.