Focusing on the experiences and representations of the “brown babies” born at the end of the Second World War from the encounters between Black Allied soldiers and Italian women, this book explores the persistence of racial thinking and racism in post-fascist and postcolonial Italy. Through the use of a large variety of historical sources, including personal testimonies and the cinema, Silvana Patriarca illustrates Italian – and also American – responses to what many considered a “problem,” and analyses the perceptions of race/color among several different actors (state and local authorities, Catholic clerics, filmmakers, geneticists, psychologists, and ordinary people). Her book is rich in details on their impact on the lives of the children. Uncovering the pervasiveness of anti-Black prejudice in the early democratic republic, as well as the presence and limitations of anti-racist sensibilities, the book allows us to better understand Italy’s conflicted reaction to its growing diversity.
The English edition will be published by Cambridge University Press in February 2022.
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On October 24th, the History Department, along with the Modern Language Department hosted Dr. Teresa Fiore, author ofPre -Occupied Spaces: Remapping Italy’s Transnational Ligations and Colonial Legacies (Fordham University Press, 2017) to speak about Italy’s history of emigration to all continents of the world, as well as its recent history of immigrants coming to Italy. Dr. Fiore is the Inserra Chair in Italian and Italian American Studies at Montclair State University. She is an expert in migration studies from a socio-cultural perspective. In particular, she focuses on immigration to Italy and the worldwide Italian diaspora. Her recent book, as well as her talk, emphasized an interdisciplinary approach to research and cultural analysis.
Dr. Fiore’s focus on socioeconomic contexts and cultural texts demonstrate the ways in which Italy is presently ‘pre-occupied’ with its past emigration, as well as colonialism. Dr. Fiore spoke to a room full of captivated students about how “the contemplative understanding of Italian civilization cannot be understood without the rigorous reconsideration of the inflation of its outbound and inbound migrations, as well as its colonialism and imperialism.” From early Italian diaspora to recent demographic stagnation, her presentation linked Italy’s long history of movement.
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History PhD student Stephanie De Paola at work in the Biblioteca Comunale Labronica Francesco Domenico Guerrazzi
Every year, Fordham graduate students head to the archives to pursue their research projects. We wrote to Stephanie De Paola, holder of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Research Fellowship, for an update on her work in both Italian and American archives for her dissertation, An Intimate Occupation: Race, Gender, and Sexual Violence in Occupied Italy and Post 1945 Memory. Read on for Stephanie’s postcard from the archives.
On July 2 Professor Silvana Patriarca will be delivering one of two keynote lectures at a conference in Cagliari, Sardinia. The conference, which is sponsored by SISSCO (the Italian Society for Contemporary History), deals with Italy’s colonial inheritance. The title of Patriarca’s talk will be “Dopoguerra in bianco e nero: ‘razza’ e Chiesa cattolica nell’Italia postfascista” (” Postwar in Black and White: ‘Race’ and the Catholic Church in Postfascist Italy”).
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Congratulations to our PhD student Alessandro Saluppo, whose article Lotta di classe nel Delta. Dove nasce lo squadrismo has appeared in Mondoperaio, a prestigious Italian journal of politics and culture. The article examines the origins and dynamics of fascist violence in the province of Ferrara. Alessandro wrote to us with an abstract of the article in English. Continue reading →
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