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Neelam Srivastava book cover HISB Book Discussion

Neelam Srivastava, Newcastle University, UK

“Reflections on Italian Colonialism and Resistances to Empire in the 20th Century, 1930-1970

Monday, March 26, 2018

4:00 PM 1008 Humanities


Shimelis Gulema, Africana Studies

Simone Brioni,  Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature

In her book, Srivastava provides an innovative cultural history of Italian colonialism and its impact on twentieth-century ideas of empire and anti-colonialism. In October 1935, Mussoliniʼs army attacked Ethiopia, defying the League of Nations and other European imperial powers. This book explores the widespread political and literary responses to the invasion, highlighting how Pan-Africanism drew its sustenance from opposition to Italy’s late empire-building, and reading the work of George Padmore, Claude McKay, and CLR James alongside the feminist and socialist anti-colonial campaigner Sylvia Pankhurst’s broadsheet,  New Times and Ethiopia News. Extending into the postwar period, the book examines the fertile connections between anti-colonialism and anti-fascism in Italian literature and art, tracing the emergence of a “resistance aesthetics” in works such as  The Battle of Algiers and Giovanni Pirelli’s harrowing books of testimony about Algeria’s war of independence, both inspired by Frantz Fanon.

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Neelam Srivastava Gaia Giuliani is researcher at Centre of Social Studies (CES) - University of Coimbra. She co-founded the Interdisciplinary Research Group on Race and Racisms (InteRGRace) based at the University of Padova (FISPPA). Her books include Zombie, alieni e mutanti. Le paure dall’11 settembre ad oggi, the co-authored Bianco e nero. Storia dell’identità razziale degli italiani with prof. Cristina Lombardi-Diop, winner of the American Association for Italian Studies best 19-20th century book prize, and the edited volume Il colore della nazione. The 2018 forthcoming Race, Gender and Nation in Modern Italy is her first English monograph.