Giorgia Mirto

Giorgia Mirto


The Political Life of Border Death in South Italy

Research Interests


Mediterranean; Italy.


Giorgia Mirto is a researcher on border death and an anti-racist activist from Sicily, in Southern Italy, whose research focuses on the mourning practices and political role of border death. Her PhD project examines the treatment of bodies, relatives, material remains, and reliquary traces in the aftermath of migrant maritime disasters, and how these shape the struggle over the incorporation of the body and person of the unknown migrant in Sicily. Giorgia has been involved for many years in a range of research projects into Italian procedures for the management, burial, and identification of the bodies of migrants who have died in the Mediterranean Sea, including: Italian coordinator of the Human Cost of Border Control project (VU University in Amsterdam) contributing to the creation of the Death at Border Database; and the Mediterranean Missing Project (York University, City University of London and IOM), focusing on identification procedures and responses – institutional or otherwise – to persons seeking missing relatives. She has worked as a consultant to the ICRC, participating in a pilot study aimed at counting border deaths and identifying the victims of the shipwreck of April 18, 2015, work featured in the 2019 documentary film  ‘#387’. Giorgia was also a field researcher on the project Death, Dying and Disposal in Italy (University of Bologna) which filled an important gap in sociological research by studying the attitudes, behaviors, beliefs and death rituals of contemporary Italians. Giorgia's activist engagement contributes to a wide network of actors aiming at supporting family members of the disappeared and their collectives who are seeking truth and justice on both sides of the Mediterranean.


Columbia University in the City of New York, US, MA in Anthropology 2023

University of Pisa, Italy, MA in Peace Studies, 2017

University of Palermo, Italy, BA in History, 2012


2022 ICRC, Counting the Dead, Europe Delegation Forensic Department, ICRC Paris

2020 Giorgia Mirto, Katerin Horsti, Simon Robins, Pamela J. Prickett, Deborah Ruiz Verduzco and Victor Toom, Mourning Migrants: The Politics of Death, Identification and the Missing, in P. Cuttitta and T. Last (eds), Border Deaths: Causes, Dynamics and Consequences of Migration-related Mortality, Amsterdam University Press (AUP), Amsterdam, 2020.

2019 Giorgia Mirto, ‘La sepoltura delle vittime delle frotneire in Sud Italia’, Lares:, Quadrimestrale di studi demoetnoantropologici, 2019/1, a. 85, Firenze, 2019.

2018 Giorgia Mirto, Procedure di gestione delle vittime delle frontiere in Italia, in G. Crua, S. Giletti and F. Prono (eds), Desaparecidos e migranti nel Mediterraneo e nelle Americhe, Gruppo Editoriale Bonanno, Acireale-Roma, 2018.

2018 Giorgia Mirto, Between Exclusion and Familiarity: An Ethnography of the Mediterranean Missing Project, “Practicing Anthropology”, Society for Applied Anthropology, Vol. 40, No. 2.

2017 Tamara Last, Giorgia Mirto, Orçun Ulusoy, Ignacio Urquijo, Joke Harte, Nefeli Bami, Marta Pérez Pérez, Flor Macias Delgado, Amélie Tapella, Alexandra Michalaki, Eirini Michalitsi, Efi Latsoudi, Naya Tselepi, Marios Chatziprokopiou & Thomas Spijkerboer, Deaths at the Borders Database: Evidence of Deceased Migrants' Bodies Found Along the Southern External Borders of the European Union, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, DOI: 10.1080/1369183X.2016.1276825

2016 Frida Ben Attia, Tunisia Tara Brian, Adrián Carrasco Heiermann, Stefanie Grant, Catriona Jarvis, Iosif Kovras, Frank Lazcko, Giorgia Mirto, Katerina Polychroni, Simon Robins, Ann Singleton, Amal Shaiah, Missing Migrants: Management of Dead Bodies in Sicily, York, MediterraneanMissing Project, 2016

2016 Giorgia Mirto, ‘Border Death’ in S. Tumminelli (ed.), Migrazioni in Sicilia 2016, Osservatorio Migrazioni, Istituto di Formazione Politica Pedro Arrupe, 2016, pp. 219-236.

2015 Amelie Tapella, Giorgia Mirto and Tamara Last, ‘Deaths at the Borders. From Institutional Carelessness to Private Concern. Research Notes from Italy’, Rivista di Storia delle Idee, vol 5, No 1, 2016, pp. 57-64.