Maurizio Albahari

Associate Professor


B.A., Università Degli Studi di Firenze, Italy (2000)
M.A., Ph.D., University of California at Irvine (2006)

My research and active participation in broader public sphere discussions delve into the tension between human existence and structures of power. This overarching interest characterizes my teaching/advising (see cv below; graduate students’ applications are welcome) as well as my ethnographic analysis of migration and refugee mobility; sovereignty, democracy, and human rights; citizenship, cities, and aesthetics; pluralism and religion in public life; and epistemology. My social-cultural and geopolitical vantage point is centered on the Euro-Mediterranean region, including the Mediterranean Sea.

I am affiliated with the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, the Nanovic Institute for European Studies, the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, Italian Studies, and the Center for Civil and Human Rights. I am also a Research Associate at the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies, UC San Diego.

My recent book Crimes of Peace: Mediterranean Migrations and the World’s Deadliest Border (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015; paperback, July 2016) focuses on the harrowing bulletin, now spanning two decades, of refugee deaths in the Mediterranean Sea. As refugees intend to reach Europe and put their lives in the hands of smugglers, social actors such as fishermen, diplomats, priests, bureaucrats, armed forces sailors, and hesitant bystanders stagger between indifference and intervention. Who is responsible for spaces that belong to all and to no one, and for persons trapped in the expansive gaps between states? Crimes of Peace scrutinizes global fault lines critically reemerging in the Mediterranean: between Europe, Africa, and the Middle East; military and humanitarian intervention; Catholic charity, hospitality, and police detention; transnational smuggling and resilient sovereignty; the universal law of the sea and the proliferating thresholds of a globally parochial world. Recent book reviews have appeared in the International Migration Review, Times Literary Supplement, Cultures et Conflits, and CrImmigration: The Intersection of Criminal Law and Immigration Law.

My current research is tracing modalities of participatory citizenship and trans-Mediterranean mobilization emerging in the everyday life and aesthetics of maritime spaces, as well as of changing cities in Italy and in the region. It seeks to capture the practice of a public citizenship that is urban and local, but not parochial; coherently political, but not institutionalized; transnational, but not national in the first place. Related scholarly articles have appeared in Anthropology Today, Anthropological Quarterly, Anthropology Now, Anthropology News, Social Research, and InTraformazione (please see cv for access to other works and conference activities). I actively pursue the intersections of public scholarship and engaged citizenship through public lectures and contributions in venues including History News Network, openDemocracy, Mobilizing Ideas, Perspektif Magazine, Fox News, and CNN.

Curriculum Vitae


620 Flanner Hall