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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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Appendix: a Selection of Cartoons 299


Appendix A Selection of Cartoons Reflections on a Recurrent Icon Several critics examined the genesis of fire and the cauldron as icons indicating anthropophagi as a term of reference. In medieval Europe, they served to define the devil and the witch, the ultimate deviants or beings outside culture. Later the savage inherited their implements and role. Interestingly, among the first allegations towards alien communities of eating human flesh figures those made by Herodotus in fifth century B.C. about the Androphagi, a people beyond the region inhabited by the Scythian. Europeans coined the popular term ‘cannibal’, more recently, in the context of their New World’s discovery. Under the voice ‘Cannibal’ the Ox- ford English Dictionary traces its origin to the sixteenth century Spanish language as one of the forms of the ethnic name ‘Carib’ or ‘Caribes’. These charges seem to have been extended to African populations in the nineteenth century following the European exploration of the continent.1 The discussion surrounding Lévi-Strauss’ theorisation of the raw and the cooked seems quite appropriate.2 More than validating a universal applicability of the postulate, the culinary triangle seems to point to the fact in western perception that the raw tends to symbolise nature while the cooked culture, nature that has been turned into an artefact. Interestingly boiling, cooking, worrying about it in the case of cannibalism constitutes a paradox, since the cannibal is outside culture, a deviant, other than human by definition. While explaining the persistence and effectiveness of the usage of anthropophagi to...

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