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.