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Memories and Silences Haunted by Fascism

Italian Colonialism MCMXXX-MCMLX

Daniela Baratieri

Fascist and colonial legacies have been determinant in shaping how Italian colonialism has been narrated in Italy till the late 1960s. This book deals with the complex problem of public memory and discursive amnesia.
The detailed research that underpins this book makes it no longer possible to claim that after 1945 there was an absolute and traumatic silence concerning Italy’s colonial occupation of North and East Africa. However, the abiding public use of this history confirms the existence of an extremely selective and codified memory of that past.
The author shows that colonial discourse persisted in historiography, newspapers, newsreels and film. Popular culture appears intertwined with political and economic interests and the power inscribed in elite and scientific knowledge. While readdressing the often mistaken historical time line that ignores that actual Italian colonial ties did not end with the fall of Fascism, but in 1960 with Somalia becoming independent, this book suggests that a new post Fascist Italian identity was the crucial issue in reappraisals of a national colonial past.


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Acknowledgments 11


Acknowledgements I would like to thank first and foremost my supervisor Luisa Passerini who believed in this undertaking and guided it in a creative and nondirective way; Nicola Labanca with his many pro- jects has offered a constant input; David Forgacs who intervened in the very last stage of this work with welcome, if demanding rigour. I would like to mention some of the people who made my stay at the EUI so stimulating and conducive to research: Bö Strath, Regine Schulte, Victoria De Grazia, Raffaele Romanelli, John Brewer and Stella Tillyard. A special acknowledgement goes to the support given to me by the UWA department of History, Sue Broomhall and Richard Bosworth in particular. This publication has been partly sub- sidised by the UWA’s ‘First Major Monograph Publication Grant’. Inestimable help has been provided by Mario Musumeci of the Cineteca nazionale di Roma. Thanks to Mike Bosworth for her infinite encouragement and intellectual support during the com- pletion of this project. An exceptional thank to my children for having been an inescapable distraction, to Isaac for his first proof-reading and to Peppino for having always been there. Lastly, I would like to pay a small debt to those who will never read this book but have in many ways contributed to it.

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