Italian transnational masculinity: Jeeg robot, il ragazzo invisibile and milzaman

Robert A. Rushing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article looks at three recent examples of superheroic masculinity in Italian film and media, arguing that it is always conceptualized transnationally, triangulated between Italy, the United States and a vague ‘East’. This transnational masculinity is repeatedly coupled with fantasies and anxieties about the environment – the toxic, as Mel Chen suggests, is animate, weaving in and out of containers, bodies and borders, allowing it to threaten Italian bodies (toxic waste, garbage, the ‘ecomafia’ of the South), and allowing us to imagine that it might bestow on those same bodies the strength, vitality and power to resist the toxic. Ultimately, these toxic and transnational male bodies may be always from elsewhere, but strangely Italian, too – after all, Esposito argues that the hallmark of Italian thought is precisely a refusal of the idea of a stable and strong national identity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-60
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Italian Cinema and Media Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2020


  • Italian cinema
  • Jeeg Robot
  • Masculinity
  • MilzaMan
  • Ragazzo invisibile
  • Roberto Esposito
  • Toxic
  • Transnational

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Communication
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


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