African Studies Italian Colonial Rule
by
Mia Fuller
  • LAST REVIEWED: 06 May 2016
  • LAST MODIFIED: 29 September 2014
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199846733-0150

Introduction

Italian colonialism took its first step in 1869, with the acquisition of a strip of land at Aseb (Assab) on the Red Sea. However modest, this was a bold move in light of the fact that the Italian state had only been formed in 1861 and was still on its way to seizing its future capital, Rome, from the Papal States in 1870. Only after France seized Tunis from the Ottoman Empire in 1882, however, did Italians’ expansionist sentiment truly flourish. Given its large Italian population, they had expected that Tunis should be theirs. This “loss” instigated competitive motivations, leading to Italy’s first military colonial occupation, in 1885, of Massawa (Mits’iwa, Massaua), also on the Red Sea, and eventually to the establishment of Italy’s first colony, Eritrea, in 1890. Small acquisitions in what later became Italian Somalia began in the 1890s. Meanwhile, Italian forces encroached on areas under the Ethiopian emperor’s control, prompting the humiliating defeat of the Italian forces at Adwa (Adua, Adowa) in 1896. For reasons both geopolitical and symbolic—such as invoking Roman antiquity to fortify the young nation—expansionists argued for the necessity of a Mediterranean colony and a “return” to empire. Italy’s attack on Ottoman-ruled Tripoli in November 1911 is widely thought to have been the world’s first instance of aerial bombardment. Control over Tripolitania and Cyrenaica took two decades to solidify; only in 1934, after a protracted war on the Sanusi confraternity and the Bedouins of Cyrenaica, did Italy consolidate the two coastal provinces with the Fezzan interior and call the whole Libya. Italian rule in the Dodecanese Islands, seized from the Sublime Porte in 1912, was largely peaceful by comparison. Shortly before Mussolini sent troops to support Franco in the Spanish Civil War, Italy successfully attacked Ethiopia—a member of the League of Nations—“avenging” Adwa and completing the attempt made in the 1890s. While Cyrenaica is renowned as a site of Italian-perpetrated genocide, in Ethiopia (also referred to as Abyssinia) Italians are notorious for having used chemical weapons and massacred clerics. The sixth and final colonial holding of the “least of the Great Powers” was Albania, annexed in 1939. Although not a colony, Italy held a share of the European concession in Tianjin (China) starting in 1901. It lost all its colonial territories in the course of the Second World War, starting in East Africa in 1941, continuing in Libya in 1943, and finally with the fall of fascism and surrender. Official loss of colonial rights came with treaties formalized by Italy’s new government in 1947. Some of Italy’s colonial-era ties were temporarily perpetuated during its United Nations trusteeship of Somalia from 1950 to 1960.

General Overviews

Scholars have written few general overviews of Italian colonialism. Two principal reasons for this are the specific way in which the period ended and the general delay in scholarship on the subject. The colonial era concluded abruptly and mid-war, without any political or intellectual process. What followed, amid a restructuring of Italy in the wake of fascist collapse and a realignment of Right and Left, was an informational lapse. Archives continued to turn up, hidden in basements, for years; cataloguing and indexing were very slow; but perhaps more important, it was in no one’s interest to scrutinize the colonial record in a country divided between mutually recriminating camps of fascist loyalists and communists. Archival access was nearly impossible for decades, which is why all scholars in the field are indebted to the pioneers who first succeeded in overcoming bureaucratic and political stonewalling. Battaglia 1958 (cited under Ethiopia and Italian East Africa) inaugurated post-fascist historiography. Angelo Del Boca and Giorgio Rochat, above all, uncovered evidence of atrocities, although—as a result of the state’s decades-long denial and silence—many Italians still deny that these occurred. Difficulties obtaining archival materials, and these problems of reception, account for the slow development of scholarship. It is perhaps not surprising that the first overview, Miège 1968, was by a non-Italian, who relied on published sources of the colonial period. Also using published sources, Rochat 1973 presented a historical, political, and cultural narrative accompanied by primary texts that still stands coherently today as a fundamental introduction. Meanwhile, by the late 1960s Angelo Del Boca had published documentation confirming Italians’ use of mustard gas in Ethiopia, which was finally acknowledged by Italian officialdom in 1996 (Del Boca 1996, cited under Atrocities). Substantial overviews have begun to appear quite recently: Labanca 2002 was the first detailed and comprehensive work; more recently still, Calchi Novati 2011 is more synthetic and appropriate for a somewhat broader audience in addition to historians. In English, Mack Smith 1976 covers the fascist years (1922–1943) and Mussolini’s imperialism, and Ben-Ghiat and Fuller 2005 (cited under Anthologies) gives a sampling of work by many authors represented in this Bibliography.

  • Calchi Novati, Giampaolo. L’Africa d’Italia: Una storia coloniale e postcoloniale. Rome: Carocci, 2011.

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    Overview of Italian rule in North and East Africa, and a good accompaniment to Labanca 2002. The principal author (who enlisted a number of credited coauthors) is a sub-Saharan specialist, and the Horn of Africa is somewhat foregrounded. Unlike Labanca 2002, incorporates African scholarly sources.

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    • Labanca, Nicola. Oltremare: Storia dell’espansione coloniale italiana. Bologna, Italy: Il Mulino, 2002.

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      The first comprehensive overview after Rochat 1973, this is both a history and an explicit engagement with scholarship to that point. Landmark work comprising innovative discussions of economics and demographics. Stands out for its critical position concerning Italians’ racist behavior in the colonies. Useful as an introduction and a reference, thanks to its bibliographic appendix.

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      • Mack Smith, Denis. Mussolini’s Roman Empire. New York: Viking, 1976.

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        Puts Italy’s fascist-era colonial pursuits in the context of fascist imperialism and wars more generally, from the Spanish Civil War through the Second World War. Not very revealing regarding the colonies themselves, and unfortunately undermined by author’s tone of contempt toward the Italian dictator.

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        • Miège, Jean-Louis. L’impérialisme colonial italien de 1870 à nos jours. Paris: Société d’édition d’enseignement supérieur, 1968.

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          The earliest overview, based primarily on diplomatic and military materials, including French and British diplomatic archives; somewhat outdated.

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          • Rochat, Giorgio. Il colonialismo italiano. Turin, Italy: Loescher, 1973.

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            The second earliest overview (after Miège 1968), and still pertinent. Combines essential short primary texts with a synthetic outline of events and topics, making it the best medium-length introduction.

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            Anthologies

            The most sizable anthology is Ghezzi 1996, which is especially useful for research on institutional, religious, diplomatic, and administrative topics. Of a very different nature is Labanca 2001, a collection of primary sources from minor writings of “ordinary” Italians in the colonies, which gives a rich and often contradictory set of images of Italians’ colonial experiences and actions. The most comprehensive anthology in English is Ben-Ghiat and Fuller 2005; another, somewhat more weighted toward cinematic and literary topics, is Palumbo 2003 (cited under Italian Colonial Culture).

            • Ben-Ghiat, Ruth, and Mia Fuller, eds. Italian Colonialism. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.

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              Twenty short essays, almost all by scholars represented in this Bibliography, designed as a representative introductory volume addressing questions of military approach, administration, cultural policies, architectural design and city planning, racial and sexual relations, and local aftereffects of colonial rule. Comprehensive bibliography, maps, and chronology.

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              • Ghezzi, Carla, ed. Fonti e problemi della politica coloniale italiana: Atti del convegno, Taormina-Messina, 23–29 ottobre 1989. 2 vols. Rome: Ministero per i beni culturali e ambientali, Ufficio centrale per i beni archivistici, 1996.

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                Proceedings from an unprecedented Italian conference on colonial rule, containing sixty-three essays by scholars with access to the archives that had been previously impossible. Marks the end of general Italian scholarly silence, and showcases the historiographic progress made in the 1980s.

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                • Labanca, Nicola. Posti al sole: Diari e memorie di vita e di lavoro dalle colonie d’Africa. Rovereto, Italy: Museo storico italiano della guerra, 2001.

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                  Valuable anthology of short texts by “ordinary” Italians in the colonies, drawn from letters, diaries, memoirs, etc. Often highlights gaps between colonial policy and behavior in everyday life.

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                  Bibliographies

                  The most thorough bibliography of relevant works in Italian—it omits many works in other languages—is provided, as a commentary rather than a list, in Labanca 2002 (cited under General Overviews). Uoldelul Chelati Dirar 1996 is an annotated bibliography of one man’s personal collection, giving an excellent range of sources concerning Italian (and formerly Italian) East Africa up to 1960. Also on the topic of Italian East Africa is Lenci 2005, which offers a clear sequence of milestones in the Italian historiography of the region. Regarding Libya, Labanca and Venuta 2004 is a unique contribution that catalogues secondary sources on Italian rule in Libya in both Italian and Arabic. For a more multilingual bibliography, see Ben-Ghiat and Fuller 2005 (cited under Anthologies).

                  • Labanca, Nicola, and Pierluigi Venuta. Bibliografia della Libia coloniale: 1911–2000. Florence: L. S. Olschki, 2004.

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                    Detailed bibliography of works in Italian and Arabic on Italian colonial rule in Libya. Authors’ access to and listing of Libyan sources is unique, and extremely valuable given the challenges of traveling to Libya for library research.

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                    • Lenci, Marco. “Dalla storia coloniale alla storia dell’Africa.” In Il mondo visto dall’Italia. Edited by Agostino Giovagnoli and Giorgio Del Zanna, 106–147. Milan: Guerrini e Associati, 2005.

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                      Article detailing the development of Italian historiography on sub-Saharan Africa from the colonial era to roughly 2000. Lucidly names all the major sources, in chronological order. Brief but accessible, and a good introduction.

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                      • Uoldelul Chelati Dirar. L’Africa nell’esperienza coloniale italiana: La biblioteca di Guerrino Lasagni (1915–1991). Bologna, Italy: Il Nove, 1996.

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                        Annotated bibliography of 815 publications that made up a retired Italian officer’s personal library. A thorough cross section of topics, approaches, and changes in attitude over time, with a helpful introduction by the bibliographer.

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                        Reference Works

                        The most accessible reference work, because it is the most synthetic and is in English, is Poddar, et al. 2008. Highly recommended is the selection of primary texts included in Rochat 1973 (cited under General Overviews), ideally in combination with those in Goglia and Grassi 1981, which provides a more detailed selection but is somewhat narrower in historical scope. Also useful as a reference is Ghezzi 1996 (cited under Anthologies). Prior to that state-sponsored publication came the ministerial publication of Italia. Ministero degli Affari Esteri 1955–1981, a twenty-two-volume laudatory compilation of Italian accomplishments in the African colonies. Photographic records, whether official or unofficial ones such as family photographs and postcards, are also a valuable resource, often providing insights well beyond what can be gleaned from textual records: Goglia 1985 focuses on Ethiopia and the phase of fascist “empire,” Goglia 1989 offers extensive images, and Palma 1999 is more selective but also more analytical regarding the role of photography in colonial culture and control.

                        • Goglia, Luigi. Storia fotografica dell’Impero fascista 1935–1941. Rome and Bari, Italy: Laterza, 1985.

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                          Striking visual documentation of Italy in Ethiopia and Italian East Africa, from conquest to defeat.

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                          • Goglia, Luigi. Colonialismo e fotografia: Il caso italiano. Messina, Italy: Sicania, 1989.

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                            Rich collection of photographs, including postcards, with a historical introduction but little visual analysis.

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                            • Goglia, Luigi, and Fabio Grassi. Il colonialismo italiano da Adua all’impero. Rome and Bari, Italy: Laterza, 1981.

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                              Collection of key primary texts from the defeat at Adwa in 1896 until roughly 1940 and the entry into the Second World War, with introductory coverage of distinct time periods.

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                              • Italia. Ministero degli Affari Esteri. L’Italia in Africa. 22 vols. Rome: Istituto Poligrafico dello Stato, 1955–1981.

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                                Vast documentation intended to show Italian accomplishments in the most flattering light possible. Overseen by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which assigned subjects to authors—many of them ex-colonial civil servants—while barring other scholars from the archives. Not a very useful source, but interesting as whitewashed history.

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                                • Palma, Silvana. L’Italia coloniale. Rome: Editori riuniti, 1999.

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                                  Another photographic collection, with little overlap with Goglia 1985 or Goglia 1989 and greater critical emphasis on the power of visual propaganda. A good introduction to Italian colonial history as well as the use of images.

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                                  • Poddar, Prem, Rajeev S. Patke, and Lars Jensen, eds. A Historical Companion to Postcolonial Literatures: Continental Europe and Its Empires. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2008.

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                                    The Italian section of this volume—which is made up of short entries on colonial rule and postcolonial literatures tied to multiple modern European empires, including “minor” ones—provides useful historical snapshots, in English, of Italian rule in the colonies.

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                                    Primary Sources

                                    A huge array of propagandistic publications appeared throughout Italy’s colonial years, and they increased in number and ambition after Italy declared itself the ruler of an empire in 1936. They included photographs, postcards, and films, as well as travel chronicles and doctrinaire materials for schoolchildren. Almost none of these are easily accessible outside of Italy, but the volumes cited here were printed in large runs and are housed in many libraries internationally. Of the three edited or coauthored by colonial administrator and enthusiast Angelo Piccioli, Piccioli 1926 and Piccioli 1935 both concern Libya alone, while Piccioli and De Bono 1933 takes a broader look at the African colonies generally. They provide good examples of Italian colonialist tone and boasts.

                                    • Piccioli, Angelo, ed. La rinascita della Tripolitania: Memorie e studi sui quattro anni di governo del conte Giuseppe Volpi di Misurata. Milan: Mondadori, 1926.

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                                      Detailed exposition of developments rural, urban, social, etc., achieved under the Libyan governorship of Giuseppe Volpi in the early 1920s.

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                                      • Piccioli, Angelo. The Magic Gate of the Sahara. Translated by Angus Davidson. London: Methuen, 1935.

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                                        English translation of La porta magica del Sahara: Itinerario Tripoli-Gadames, 2nd ed., 1934. A travel chronicle designed to encourage Italian tourism to the recently “pacified” colony; describes Libya’s hinterland.

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                                        • Piccioli, Angelo, and Emilio De Bono. La nuova Italia d’oltremare: L’opera del fascismo nelle colonie italiane. Milan: Mondadori, 1933.

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                                          Wide coverage of achievements throughout the Italian colonies in the course of fascist rule’s first decade.

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                                          The Horn of Africa

                                          After its conquest of the Ethiopian capital and imperial seat, Addis Ababa, in May 1936, the Kingdom of Italy assumed the title of Empire and then, having added Ethiopia to its holdings of Eritrea and Somalia, incorporated all three into one administrative unit, Africa Orientale Italiana (Italian East Africa; abbreviated as AOI), governed by a viceroy and divided into six provinces. Some scholarship treats Eritrea, Somalia, and Ethiopia as discrete colonies (citations for which are under Eritrea, Somalia, and Ethiopia and Italian East Africa), but some of it—cited here—treats AOI more collectively. Any scholarly discussion of Italian conquest and rule in the Horn must take into account Del Boca 1976–1984, which remains the crucial single-author work on the entire arc of Italian activity throughout the area, from before the colonial era to after it. A more recent work, uniquely detailed in its focus on economics and labor in AOI, is Podestà 2004. Carcangiu and Negash 2007 and Uoldelul Chelati Dirar, et al. 2011 both collect essays that represent current interests in historical, political, social, and cultural research into the Horn under Italian rule and thereafter.

                                          • Carcangiu, Bianca Maria, and Tekeste Negash, eds. L’Africa orientale italiana nel dibattito storico contemporaneo. Papers presented at the conference held in Cagliari, Italy, Nov. 30–Dec. 1, 2006. Rome: Carocci, 2007.

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                                            Papers from a 2006 conference. As a group, they reflect the transition from Italian scholars’ early focus on military and diplomatic questions and materials to more social and cultural-historical work.

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                                            • Del Boca, Angelo. Gli italiani in Africa orientale. 4 vols. Rome and Bari, Italy: Laterza, 1976–1984.

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                                              Foundational work on Italian conquest and rule in East Africa through the end of the era. Provides a narrative that remains coherent and essential today. Del Boca followed this publication with the two-volume Del Boca 1986–1988 (cited under Libya).

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                                              • Podestà, Gian Luca. Il mito dell’impero: Economia, politica e lavoro nelle colonie italiane dell’Africa orientale 1898–1941. Turin, Italy: Giappichelli, 2004.

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                                                Useful study focused on labor, raw materials, and development throughout nearly the entire colonial era.

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                                                • Uoldelul Chelati Dirar, Silvana Palma, Alessandro Triulzi, and Alessandro Volterra, eds. Colonia e postcolonia come spazi diasporici: Attraversamenti di memorie, identità e confini nel Corno d’Africa. Rome: Carocci, 2011.

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                                                  Sizeable collection of the most recent work by established and emerging scholars, spanning colonial and postcolonial eras and questions. Focusing on the topic of mobilities, it considers political and cultural exchanges within the colonies, cross-colonial contacts, and contemporary migrations between former colonies and metropole.

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                                                  Eritrea

                                                  The Italian administration had no choice but to reassess its colonial priorities and governance after Italy’s defeat at Adwa in 1896, and Aquarone and de Courten 1989 set the standard for analytical study of this reorganization. Rosoni 2006 is a more recent and detailed inquiry into how Italy first approached colonial administration in Eritrea. Also concerning the early period is Guazzini 1999, an illuminating study of how Italy confronted—more or less successfully—local understandings of zones of power, as opposed to Italians’ expectations of linear borders, in the process of delineating the boundaries of its new colony, Eritrea. Taddia 1986 is the first history of the long process of Italian colonization, with a social-historical focus on Eritrean and Italian individuals and detailed discussion of agricultural development. Tekeste Negash 1987 is a comparatively top-down critique of various domains in which Italian rule exploited Eritrean people and resources. More recent work has developed social and cultural historical questions and approaches, of which Triulzi 2002 offers a good selection. Some current historiography of colonial Eritrea inquires into linkages between Italian rule and present circumstances, in terms of culpabilities but also of the formation of elites and national sentiment, for example Uoldelul Chelati Dirar 2007. More specifically, the history of Italy’s “native soldiers” (askari) in Eritrea, dealt with in Volterra 2005, sheds light on matters of governance and culture. See also the separate Oxford Bibliographies article on Eritrea.

                                                  • Aquarone, Alberto, and Ludovica De Courten. Dopo Adua: Politica e amministrazione coloniale. Rome: Ministero per i beni culturali, 1989.

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                                                    Detailed analyses of the changes in Italy’s approach to Eritrea and Ethiopia in the wake of losing the Battle of Adwa.

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                                                    • Guazzini, Federica. Le ragioni di un confine coloniale: Eritrea, 1898–1908. Turin, Italy: L’Harmattan Italia, 1999.

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                                                      Insightful analysis of the origins of Eritrea’s borders, as designed and negotiated over with neighboring powers by the Italian administration. Has important implications regarding today’s ongoing frictions between Eritrea and Ethiopia, which make different claims about the “original” borders between them.

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                                                      • Rosoni, Isabella. La Colonia eritrea: La prima amministrazione coloniale italiana (1880–1912). Macerata, Italy: EUM Edizioni Università di Macerata, 2006.

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                                                        A close examination of the young Italian state’s early experience of colonial administration in its first colony, up until its creation of the Ministry of the Colonies in 1912.

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                                                        • Taddia, Irma. L’Eritrea-colonia, 1890–1952: Paesaggi, strutture, uomini del colonialismo. Milan: FrancoAngeli, 1986.

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                                                          A history of the effects of Italian rule in Eritrea, emphasizing its impact on the lives of the colonized and the “ordinary” Italians involved. The author later compiled oral histories of both groups, Taddia 1988 and Taddia 1996 (both cited under Oral History and Subaltern Histories).

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                                                          • Tekeste Negash. Italian Colonialism in Eritrea, 1882–1941: Policies, Praxis, and Impact. Uppsala, Sweden: Uppsala University Press, 1987.

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                                                            Marxist approach to the colony’s history, focusing on its exploitation for raw materials, human resources (askari, or “native soldier’), and agricultural settlement; educational policy; and native policy.

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                                                            • Triulzi, Alessandro, ed. Special Issue: La colonia: Italiani in Eritrea. Quaderni Storici 37.1 (2002).

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                                                              Seven substantial essays by some of the best social, religious, military, political, and cultural historians of Italian colonialism working in Italy today. A good snapshot of the state of scholarship on colonial Eritrea in the early 2000s.

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                                                              • Uoldelul Chelati Dirar. “Colonialism and the Construction of National Identities: The Case of Eritrea.” Journal of Eastern African Studies 1.2 (2007): 256–276.

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                                                                Analyzes institutions that shaped political, juridical, and economic life in the colony, and argues against the idea that Italian rule suppressed local elites altogether, showing instead the rise of a new informal elite under colonialism, one whose authority carried over into the post-Italian period.

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                                                                • Volterra, Alessandro. Sudditi coloniali: Ascari eritrei 1935–1941. Milan: Franco Angeli, 2005.

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                                                                  Unique work on Italy’s Eritrean “native soldiers” (askari), combining Italian archival sources with oral-historical interviews. Useful details concerning troops’ movements in Libyan and Ethiopian campaigns, their day-to-day lives within the military hierarchy, and their views of Italian rule.

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                                                                  Somalia

                                                                  Italian Somalia (southern Somalia today) was sometimes referred to as the Cinderella—or poor stepsister—of Italy’s colonies, because few Italians settled there and relatively little was invested in or gained from it. Of Italy’s sub-Saharan colonies, Somalia has also received the least scholarly attention. The first history of Italian rule there is Hess 1966, and it is still a necessary reference. Only quite recently has a detailed work on Italian agricultural development in Somalia appeared: Naletto 2011 (cited under Agricultural and “Demographic” Colonization). Luling 1976 documents the author’s 1960s ethnographic fieldwork in the Geledi area, where Italian plantations had been located, and describes their long-term impact on local economic and social relations. The 1990s civil war, collapse of government, and crisis in international relations revived interest in the country’s colonial past and its possible connection to the crisis; see Tripodi 1999. Morone 2011 scrutinizes Somalia as Italy’s “last colony,” when Italy administered it under the trusteeship agreement of 1949–1960. See also the separate Oxford Bibliographies article Somalia.

                                                                  • Hess, Robert L. Italian Colonialism in Somalia. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1966.

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                                                                    The first overview of Italian encroachments into southern Somalia from the 1880s through the end of effective colonial rule in 1941. Still a key work, in part because so little else has been published.

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                                                                    • Luling, Virginia. “Colonial and Postcolonial Influences on a South Somali Community.” Journal of African Studies 3 (1976): 491–511.

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                                                                      Fieldwork-based study of the traces in the 1960s of colonial rule. Focuses on cultural and social effects of Italian administration and plantations, the emancipation of slave labor, and new markets.

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                                                                      • Morone, Antonio M. L’ultima colonia: Come l’Italia è tornata in Africa, 1950–1960. Rome and Bari, Italy: Laterza, 2011.

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                                                                        Original work on Italy’s activities during its post-independence trusteeship in Somalia, which it used as an opportunity to retain a colonial foothold and vindicate its past rule.

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                                                                        • Tripodi, Paolo. The Colonial Legacy in Somalia: Rome and Mogadishu from Colonial Administration to Operation Restore Hope. New York: St. Martin’s, 1999.

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                                                                          Considers the 1990s collapse of Somalia in light of its colonial past and the influence of Italian rule.

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                                                                          Ethiopia and Italian East Africa

                                                                          African troops’ victory over Italian ones at Adwa in 1896 caused such humiliation that the Italian government collapsed. It was the subject of the first substantial history of Italian colonialism, Battaglia 1958, and it remains a key interest for historians. Further milestones in this historiography are Labanca 1993 and Del Boca 1997. Ethiopians’ defeat of Italians is also commemorated and studied by Ethiopians: Milkias and Metaferia 2005 presents an excellent set of essays along those lines. Bahru Zewde 2001 provides an Ethiopian perspective on the Italian “occupation” (Ethiopians hold that their country has never been colonized, but that Italy occupied it for five years). Sbacchi 1985 considers the full period from conquest to defeat, including accounts of abuses and discriminations perpetrated by the fascist-colonial government. A unique work is Le Houérou 1994, based in part on interviews with Italians who stayed in AOI after Italy lost its colonies. Despite the brevity of Italy’s rule, agricultural colonization plans were set in motion, and Haile M. Larebo 1994 (cited under Agricultural and “Demographic” Colonization) shows the program’s ambitions and its failures. Podestà 2011 (cited under Agricultural and “Demographic” Colonization) gives the most detailed statistics to date regarding Italian settlers, along with insights about interracial relations. Recent Italian historiography having expanded into social and cultural questions, Bottoni 2008 is recommended for a good view of current concerns, materials, and methods. See also the separate Oxford Bibliographies article Ethiopia.

                                                                          • Bahru Zewde. A History of Modern Ethiopia 1855–1991. 2d ed. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: Addis Ababa University Press, 2001.

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                                                                            The chapter “The Italian Occupation 1936–1941” (pp. 150–177) gives an Ethiopian-historiographic context for understanding the Italian era. Excellent balance to the scholarship derived from European sources alone.

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                                                                            • Battaglia, Roberto. La prima guerra d’Africa. Turin, Italy: Einaudi, 1958.

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                                                                              The first credible Italian history of Italy’s colonial period, and still fundamental. Detailed accounting of all Italian activity in and concerning the Horn through the defeat at Adwa.

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                                                                              • Bottoni, Riccardo, ed. L’impero fascista: Italia ed Etiopia, 1935–1941. Proceedings of the conference held in Milan, Italy, Oct. 5–7, 2006. Bologna, Italy: Il Mulino, 2008.

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                                                                                An excellent sampling of the state of the art in Italian studies of colonial rule in Italian East Africa: twenty-six essays (from a 2006 conference) by eminent historians as well as younger scholars, including some from the Horn. Political, military, social, economic, and cultural topics.

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                                                                                • Del Boca, Angelo, ed. Adua: Le ragioni di una sconfitta. Convegno internazionale di studi sul centenario della battaglia di Adua a Piacenza, nelle giornate del 10, 11, e 12 aprile 1996. Rome and Bari, Italy: Laterza, 1997.

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                                                                                  Varied collection of essays by an international gathering of scholars who participated in a 1996 conference on the centennial of the Battle of Adwa.

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                                                                                  • Labanca, Nicola. In marcia verso Adua. Turin, Italy: Einaudi, 1993.

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                                                                                    Thirty-five years after Battaglia’s inaugural study on the most difficult chapter in Italian colonial history, Labanca’s approach is more synthetic and critical, and reflects how the historiographic perspective on Adwa had changed by the 1990s.

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                                                                                    • Le Houérou, Fabienne. L’épopée des soldats de Mussolini en Abyssinie, 1936–1938: Les “Ensablés.” Paris: L’Harmattan, 1994.

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                                                                                      Unique book that adds fieldwork and interview materials concerning Italians who stayed in Italian East Africa after the colonial era to what we know from textual sources. Fine-grained view of social and economic differences among those Italians, their motivations for staying, and their memories of colonial atrocities.

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                                                                                      • Milkias, Paulos, and Getachew Metaferia, eds. The Battle of Adwa: Reflections on Ethiopia’s Historic Victory against European Colonialism. New York: Algora, 2005.

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                                                                                        The Battle of Adwa, its effects, and its implications for Ethiopia today, from the perspective of non-Italian historians.

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                                                                                        • Sbacchi, Alberto. Ethiopia under Mussolini: Fascism and the Colonial Experience. London: Zed Books, 1985.

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                                                                                          Essential history of fascist conquest of, and rule in, Ethiopia. Unflinching regarding atrocities and critical regarding administration.

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                                                                                          The Mediterranean Basin

                                                                                          Although Italian colonialists aspired from the beginning to obtaining territories in the Mediterranean arena, their goals were only achieved beginning in 1911 with the Italo-Turkish War in the future Libya and the 1912 takeover of the Dodecanese Islands as a possession. These aspirations culminated further in the annexation of Albania in 1939, and in the course of the Second World War, as described in Rodogno 2006. The rest of this section considers Libya, Dodecanese Islands, and Albania separately.

                                                                                          • Rodogno, Davide. Fascism’s European Empire: Italian Occupation during the Second World War. Translated by Adrian Belton. Cambridge, UK, and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006.

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                                                                                            English translation of Il nuovo ordine mediterraneo: Le politiche di occupazione dell’Italia fascista in Europa (1940–1943), first published in 2003. History of Italian military involvements throughout the Mediterranean during the Second World War, which can be read as the culmination of Italy’s long-standing colonial aspirations throughout the Basin, beyond Libya and the Dodecanese Islands: on the Dalmatian coast, in parts of Greece, and om southeastern France.

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                                                                                            Libya

                                                                                            Scholarship on Italian rule in Libya begins with Evans-Pritchard 1949. In their three decades of rule, Italians took little interest in the country’s recent history, leaving a historiographic void that this work filled as a principal modern-history source (other than Arabic ones) for more than one generation of Libyans. Under Qadhafi’s regime (1969–2011), Libyan scholars obtained doctorates in Europe and the United States, many of them in modern Libyan history; see Barbar 1980 and Elbhloul 1986. Anderson 1991 (cited under Oral History and Subaltern Histories) is an introduction to the state-sponsored oral history project conducted by the Libyan Studies Center (now the Libyan National Archives) to document Italian atrocities. Italian scholarship begins in earnest with Del Boca 1986–1988, a thorough overview following up on Del Boca 1976–1984 (cited under Horn of Africa). Scholars elsewhere brought other disciplinary concerns to the study of colonial Libya, such as the politics of colonial geography (Atkinson 2003, cited under Institutions and Scientific Associations). Libya’s original unification and denomination having taken place by Italian fiat in 1934, and its subsequent status as an ex-colonial independent state having been established by the United Nations in 1951, the country has attracted attention from political scientists interested in its unusual path to state formation, Anderson 1986 and Ahmida 2009 especially. The newest exploration of this question, from a different vantage point that considers the widespread exile of Libyans under colonialism as an ingredient in the nation’s formation, is Baldinetti 2010. Libya was the colony Italians developed most extensively for agricultural settlement, and it has been studied by several scholars from this point of view; see Segrè 1974, Cresti 1996, and Cresti 2012 (all cited under Agricultural and “Demographic” Colonization). Labanca 2012 is a balanced military history of Italian aggression in Libya from 1911 to 1931. See also the separate Oxford Bibliographies article Libya.

                                                                                            • Ahmida, Ali Abdullatif. The Making of Modern Libya: State Formation, Colonization, and Resistance. 2d ed. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2009.

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                                                                                              A political science and historical work first published in 1994, arguing that state formation was already under way in Libya before European colonization; documents both resistance and collaboration.

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                                                                                              • Anderson, Lisa. The State and Social Transformation in Tunisia and Libya, 1830–1980. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1986.

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                                                                                                The first of the works (such as Ahmida 2009) concerned with state formation and social transitions in the encounter with European colonizers. Compares the Tunisian and Libyan cases.

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                                                                                                • Baldinetti, Anna. The Origins of the Libyan Nation: Colonial Legacy, Exile and the Emergence of a New Nation-State. London and New York: Routledge, 2010.

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                                                                                                  Invaluable historical work with a subtle analysis of the multiple factors giving rise to today’s Libyan nation, going beyond the Italian “creation” and naming of the country and taking account of exile and diaspora as well as of Arabic sources.

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                                                                                                  • Barbar, Aghil Mohamed. “The Tarabulus (Libyan) Resistance to the Italian Invasion, 1911–1920.” PhD diss., University of Wisconsin–Madison, 1980.

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                                                                                                    Historical analysis of local reactions to Italians in the early colonial years, starting with a description of social, economic, political, and urban life prior to their arrival, and based largely on Ottoman and Arabic-language sources, in combination with British, American, and Italian ones.

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                                                                                                    • Del Boca, Angelo. Gli Italiani in Libia. 2 vols. Rome and Bari, Italy: Laterza, 1986–1988.

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                                                                                                      As with the author’s work on the Horn of Africa (Del Boca 1976–1984, cited under Horn of Africa), this is indispensable. Thoroughly covers military, political, diplomatic, and cultural facets of Italian rule in Libya.

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                                                                                                      • Elbhloul, Taeib Abdallah. “Italian Colonialism: The Young Turks and the Libyan Resistance 1908–1918.” PhD diss., University of California, Santa Barbara, 1986.

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                                                                                                        Overlaps in topic with Barbar 1980, although with greater emphasis on the Young Turks and on Arab nationalism, and using more material from Libyan archives.

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                                                                                                        • Evans-Pritchard, Edward Evan. The Sanusi of Cyrenaica. Oxford: Clarendon, 1949.

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                                                                                                          Enormously influential work on the Sanusiyya religious confraternity. Combines ethnographic materials with textual ones. Should be read bearing its strong anti-Italian slant in mind.

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                                                                                                          • Labanca, Nicola. La guerra per la Libia, 1911–1931. Bologna, Italy: Il Mulino, 2012.

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                                                                                                            An updated synthetic history of Italian conquest in Libya, from the initial attack on Tripoli through the end of “pacification.” Thorough bibliographic appendix.

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                                                                                                            The Dodecanese Islands

                                                                                                            Italy’s possession consisting of the fourteen Dodecanese Islands (including Rhodes, Kos, and Leros) has attracted relatively little scholarly attention. The most substantial work for many years was Marongiu Buonaiuti 1979, on religious policy (cited under Religious Policies), although the recent publication of Pignataro 2011–2013 corrects that oversight to a great degree. Also recent is Peri 2009, a useful but uneven compilation resulting from a conference and focusing on cultural policies. A new array of territorial and geographic materials has emerged with Arca Petrucci 2012. Greek historiography tends to a strong anti-Italian slant—as in Tsirpanlis 1998—but oral-historical research documents Dodecanesians’ ambivalence toward Italian rule (see Doumanis 1997, cited under Oral History and Subaltern Histories). Work from other quarters, such as McGuire 2012, looks at questions of citizenship and the cultural capital marketed through Italian tourism to the Islands. As elsewhere, Italy installed a few villages for settlers from Italy, and information on those sites appears sporadically in works on archeology and architecture in the Islands, such as Livadiotti and Rocco 1996 and Martinoli and Perotti 1999 (both cited under Archeology and Tourism) and Arca Petrucci 2012.

                                                                                                            • Arca Petrucci, Marcella, ed. Atlante geostorico di Rodi: Territorialità, attori, pratiche e rappresentazioni (1912–1947): Per una geografia del colonialismo italiano. Rome: Gangemi, 2012.

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                                                                                                              Essays addressing Italians’ urban and infrastructural interventions in the Dodecanese Islands in geographic and spatial terms, with extensive illustrations and maps. Good complement to works on archeology and architecture cited under Archeology and Tourism.

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                                                                                                              • McGuire, Valerie. “Arcadian Histories: Italian Encounters in the Eastern Mediterranean.” In New Perspectives in Italian Cultural Studies. Vol. 1, Definitions, Theory, and Accented Practices. Edited by Graziella Parati, 231–258. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2012.

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                                                                                                                Addresses how Italians used the image of “Levantine” Dodecanesian character in order to bolster Italians’ self-image as both Mediterranean and modern, through touristic marketing and architecture.

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                                                                                                                • Peri, Massimo, ed. La politica culturale del fascismo nel Dodecaneso: Atti del Convegno, Padova, 16–17 novembre 2007. Padua, Italy: Esedra, 2009.

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                                                                                                                  Papers from a 2007 conference on disparate topics, including memory and counter-memory of Italian colonialism; economic, religious, and educational policies; Italian-Turkish relations; geology; archeology; Jews; and the Second World War.

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                                                                                                                  • Pignataro, Luca. Il Dodecaneso italiano, 1912–1947. 2 vols. Chieti, Italy: Solfanelli, 2011–2013.

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                                                                                                                    Most detailed history to date of Italian governance in the Dodecanese, based entirely on Italian sources. The two volumes end in 1936, and a third is planned. Concentrates on juridical and diplomatic issues, as well as agricultural development.

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                                                                                                                    • Tsirpanlis, Zacharias N. Italokratia sta Dodekanesa, 1912–1943: Allotriose tou anthropou kai tou perivallontos. Rhodes, Greece: Ekdose Grapheiou Mesaionikes Poles Rodou, 1998.

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                                                                                                                      Good example of nationalist, unambiguously negative Greek historiography concerning “Italocracy.” Uses Greek, Italian, and French sources, emphasizing public works, education, and economic policies.

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                                                                                                                      Albania

                                                                                                                      Italy’s takeover of Albania in 1939 was preceded by years of economic involvement, and even urban planning, in the capital Tirana especially. Because annexation came so shortly before the Second World War, scholars have typically addressed the two together, as in Fischer 1999. Borgogni 2007 instead takes the long view of Italian-Albanian relations. Pearson 2004–2006 concerns Albania itself rather than Italy, but provides very detailed sequences of events as they unfolded. Italy intended to expropriate land and bring Italian agricultural settlers, and made initial steps in that direction, discussed in Fischer 1999.

                                                                                                                      • Borgogni, Massimo. Tra continuità e incertezza: Italia e Albania (1914–1939): La strategia politico-militare dell’Italia in Albania fino all’Operazione “Oltre Mare Tirana.” Milan: FrancoAngeli, 2007.

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                                                                                                                        Rich account of the serpentine path of Italian approaches to controlling Albania, culminating in the 1939 takeover, shortly followed by Italy’s entry into the Second World War. The sources and point of view are strictly Italian.

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                                                                                                                        • Fischer, Bernd Jürgen. Albania at War, 1939–1945. West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University Press, 1999.

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                                                                                                                          Begins with Italian domination and ends with Stalinist Albania. Rare coverage of Italy’s settlement program, which brought Italians to settle in “Italian Greater Albania” in ways comparable with other colonies; local responses, including resistance; and ultimately, the program’s failure.

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                                                                                                                          • Pearson, Owen. Albania in the Twentieth Century: A History. 3 vols. London and New York: Centre for Albanian Studies in association with I.B. Tauris, 2004–2006.

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                                                                                                                            Extraordinarily thorough documentation, arranged chronologically (day by day, year by year) of all political, historical events from 1908 to 1998. The first volume includes the period of “peaceful” Italian penetration and influence (1908–1939); the second, the years of full Italian control, then takeover by German forces (1940–1945).

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                                                                                                                            Tianjin

                                                                                                                            Italy’s portion of the European concession in Tianjin, China (Tientsin, Tien-tsin), which it obtained through agreements reached in 1901 and 1902, was not a colonial holding, nor—unlike all six colonies—did it hold any promise of agricultural development or settlement: it was a commercial and diplomatic outpost. Nonetheless, current scholarship is inclined to note the colonial approaches Italians brought to bear there. The most ambitious work to date is Smith 2012, while the one most directed to the “colonialism” of Italy’s acquisition of land is De Angeli 2010. Marinelli 2009 and Marinelli 2010 focus, respectively, on Italian imaginings of what Tianjin represented, especially in light of Italy’s “backward” status and its defeat at Adwa, and how the concession period has been depicted by Italians and Chinese. Rogaski 2004 situates Italian interventions in the context of Chinese and Japanese interventions and perceptions.

                                                                                                                            • De Angeli, Aglaia. “Italian Land Auctions in Tianjin: Italian Colonialism in Early Twentieth-Century China.” Journal of Modern Italian Studies 15.4 (2010): 557–572.

                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1080/1354571X.2010.501976Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                              Puts Italy’s development of its share of the concession in the context of economic developments in the metropole and in relation to the 1907–1908 crisis in particular.

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                                                                                                                              • Marinelli, Maurizio. “Making Concessions in Tianjin: Heterotopia and Italian Colonialism in Mainland China.” Urban History 36.3 (2009): 399–425.

                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1017/S0963926809990150Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                Details interventions throughout the concession period, as well as how the era has been depicted in both Italian and Chinese sources.

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                                                                                                                                • Marinelli, Maurizio. “The Genesis of the Italian Concession in Tianjin: A Combination of Wishful Thinking and Realpolitik.” Journal of Modern Italian Studies 15.4 (2010): 536–556.

                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1080/1354571X.2010.501975Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                  A close historical study of disagreements among Italians as to how to shape the concession, in light of nationalistic motivations such as the desire to be on par with other European powers in Tianjin and sentiments of wounded national pride in the wake of the Adwa defeat.

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                                                                                                                                  • Rogaski, Ruth. Hygienic Modernity: Meanings of Health and Disease in Treaty-Port China. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004.

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                                                                                                                                    Devotes relatively brief attention to Italian urban interventions in the concession, but puts them in the context of Chinese and Japanese views of urban hygiene and interventions.

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                                                                                                                                    • Smith, Shirley A. Imperial Designs: Italians in China, 1900–1947. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2012.

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                                                                                                                                      Book-length treatment of Italy’s Tianjin concession, by a literary scholar. While the work is historical, it treats journalistic and diplomatic texts of the era in some detail, along with architectural works.

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                                                                                                                                      Institutions and Scientific Associations

                                                                                                                                      Studies of the institutions that drove and managed Italian colonialism were slow to develop, along with other aspects of the field. Pellegrini and Bertinelli 1994 is a sparse but useful work on the hierarchies of Italian colonial administration in the metropole. Rosoni 2006 and Aquarone and de Courten 1989 (both cited under Eritrea) are close studies of the early stages of colonial administration on the ground. Martone 2002 and Martone 2008 are the only substantial studies of Italian colonial law. Less analytical and more detailed regarding institutional histories than Atkinson 2003, which examines the role of geography in colonial conceptions of Libya, are Cerreti 1995 and Monina 2002. Civil servants in the colonies are the subject of both Giorgi 2012 and Dore, et al. 2013.

                                                                                                                                      • Atkinson, David. “Geographical Knowledge and Scientific Survey in the Construction of Italian Libya.” Modern Italy 8.1 (2003): 9–29.

                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1080/1353294032000074052Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                        One of Atkinson’s numerous articles on the crucial role played by geographers in Italians’ study and conquest of Libya and expansionists’ expectations of the colony.

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                                                                                                                                        • Cerreti, Claudio, ed. Colonie africane e cultura italiana fra Ottocento e Novecento: Le esplorazioni e la geografia: Istituto italo-africano, Roma, 20 maggio 1994. Rome: CISU, 1995.

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                                                                                                                                          Papers delivered at a conference in 1994, detailing geographers’ participation in colonial conquest and administration.

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                                                                                                                                          • Dore, Gianni, Chiara Giorgi, Antonio M. Morone, and Massimo Zaccaria, eds. Governare l’Oltremare: Istituzioni, funzionari e società nel colonialismo italiano. Originally presented at the conference held in Pavia, Italy, Sept. 29–30, 2011. Rome: Carocci, 2013.

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                                                                                                                                            Selected contributions from a 2011 conference, showing bureaucratic and administrative processes, along with case studies of key individuals who forged administrative bridges among the colonies.

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                                                                                                                                            • Giorgi, Chiara. L’Africa come carriera: Funzioni e funzionari del colonialismo italiano. Rome: Carocci, 2012.

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                                                                                                                                              Concentrates on colonial civil servants and their careers, with respect to both bureaucracies and individual administrators.

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                                                                                                                                              • Martone, Luciano. Giustizia coloniale: Modelli e prassi penale per i sudditi d’Africa dall’età giolittiana al fascismo. Naples, Italy: Jovene, 2002.

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                                                                                                                                                Detailed analytical work on Italian definitions of criminality in the African colonies, and the adaptation of national jurisprudence and legislation to colonial settings.

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                                                                                                                                                • Martone, Luciano. Diritto d’oltremare: Legge e ordine per le colonie del Regno d’Italia. Milan: Giuffrè, 2008.

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                                                                                                                                                  Overview of Italian law in the African colonies, followed by case studies of Italian magistrates in Eritrea; approaches to Muslim land ownership, and expropriations, in Libya; and military justice.

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                                                                                                                                                  • Monina, Giancarlo. Il consenso coloniale: Le Società geografiche e l’Istituto coloniale italiano (1896–1914). Rome: Carocci, 2002.

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                                                                                                                                                    Traces activities and ambitions of Italy’s geographical societies from the 1896 defeat at Adwa to the 1911–1912 occupation of Tripoli, focusing on their role in drumming up support for colonial expansion.

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                                                                                                                                                    • Pellegrini, Vincenzo, and Anna Bertinelli. Per la storia dell’amministrazione coloniale italiana. Milan: Giuffrè, 1994.

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                                                                                                                                                      Straightforward volume outlining the ministerial oversight of colonial administration, under the Ministry of Colonies starting in 1912 and the Ministry of Italian Africa from 1937 to 1953. Does not include the Dodecanese Islands, which were overseen by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Useful knowledge for navigating the Italian colonial archives.

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                                                                                                                                                      Agricultural and “Demographic” Colonization

                                                                                                                                                      Perhaps the most distinctive aspect of Italian colonialism is its emphasis on the promise of agricultural development and the installation of numerous Italian settlers—known in official parlance as “demographic colonization”—on colonial soil. Bruner 2009 shows the momentum that carried directly from plans to remedy social ills and poverty in Italy’s southern regions to the idea of agricultural settlements in Eritrea. It can be read together with Pankhurst 1964, which is more rooted in questions of Eritrean territory and history. Naletto 2011 is the first detailed work concerning agriculture and labor in Italian Somalia, although Hess 1966 (cited under Somalia) remains an essential source as well. The lion’s share of scholarship on this subject concerns Libya, since it was the site of the most extensive settlements. The original work on the topic is Segrè 1974; Cresti 1996 is the most detailed, based on the author’s unlimited access to the archive of one of the development agencies; and Cresti 2012 is the most comprehensive, framing the agricultural-demographic projects within the larger political history of the colony. Haile M. Larebo 1994 concerns the projects in Ethiopia, which were imagined extensively, although very few came to fruition. Podestà 2011 provides a detailed demographic account of Italians in Africa. The handful of settlements in Albania and the Dodecanese have not garnered works of their own, but can be found mentioned in Fischer 1999 (cited under Albania), Arca Petrucci 2012 (cited under Dodecanese Islands), and Livadiotti and Rocco 1996 and Martinoli and Perotti 1999 (both cited under Archeology and Tourism).

                                                                                                                                                      • Bruner, S. C. “Leopoldo Franchetti and Italian Settlement in Eritrea: Emigration, Welfare Colonialism and the Southern Question.” European History Quarterly 39.1 (2009): 71–94.

                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1177/0265691408097367Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                        Documents Italy’s first settlement project, in the new colony of Eritrea. For Italianists, there is a useful focus on Franchetti, who created the plan but is better known as one of the original articulators of the Italian “southern question” of poverty and emigration, which colonial settlements were intended to solve.

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                                                                                                                                                        • Cresti, Federico. Oasi di italianità: La Libia della colonizzazione agraria tra fascismo, guerra e indipendenza (1935–1956). Turin, Italy: Società editrice internazionale, 1996.

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                                                                                                                                                          The most detailed work on Italy’s agricultural and settlement program in Libya, based on a close analysis of the entire archive of the Istituto Nazionale Fascista per la Previdenza Sociale, one of the organizations in charge. Extends to the years of British Military Administration after the Second World War and beyond.

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                                                                                                                                                          • Cresti, Federico. Non desiderare la terra d’altri: La colonizzazione italiana in Libia. Rome: Carocci, 2012.

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                                                                                                                                                            Overarching view of Italy’s agricultural-demographic projects in Libya, and the best introduction to the subject in Italian.

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                                                                                                                                                            • Haile M. Larebo. The Building of an Empire: Italian Land Policy and Practice in Ethiopia, 1935–1941. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994.

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                                                                                                                                                              Italy’s agricultural development and settlement program in Ethiopia was limited and short-lived, yet this meticulous book puts it on a level with more extensive ones elsewhere. Useful focus on discrepancies between grand Italian claims and modest accomplishments.

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                                                                                                                                                              • Naletto, Andrea. Italiani in Somalia: Storia di un colonialismo straccione. Padova, Italy: Centro studi Ettore Luccini, 2011.

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                                                                                                                                                                Most recent work on Italian projects in Somalia, and most thorough regarding costs, state involvement, laborers, crops, and administration.

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                                                                                                                                                                • Pankhurst, Richard. “Italian Settlement Policy in Eritrea and its Repercussions 1889–1896.” In Boston University Papers in African History. Vol. 1. Edited by Jeffrey Butler, 121–159. Boston: Boston University Press, 1964.

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                                                                                                                                                                  Essential predecessor and companion to Bruner 2009, from the perspective of an Ethiopianist. Greater historiographic depth and detail concerning the Eritrean highlands, and less emphasis on internal Italian divisions and the “southern question.”

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                                                                                                                                                                  • Podestà, Gian-Luca. “Colonists and ‘Demographic’ Colonists. Family and Society in Italian Africa.” Annales de démographie historique 122 (2011): 205–231.

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                                                                                                                                                                    Rare demographic accounting of Italian settlers’ population numbers and growth in Libya and Italian East Africa. Includes effects of Mussolini’s pro-natalist policies and interracial relations.

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                                                                                                                                                                    • Segrè, Claudio G. Fourth Shore: The Italian Colonization of Libya. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1974.

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                                                                                                                                                                      The first historical study of Italy’s intensive settlement and agricultural development program in Libya, and still an essential reference.

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                                                                                                                                                                      Atrocities

                                                                                                                                                                      Italian colonial atrocities have attracted both considerable attention and vehement denial, and continue to do so among Italians today. In 1968, Angelo Del Boca published telegrams signed by Mussolini showing that he had condoned the use of chemical weapons in Ethiopia; see Del Boca 1996. Del Boca 2005 offers an overarching view of the guiltier pages of modern Italy’s history, including concentration camps, massacres, deportations, genocidal actions in Cyrenaica, and war crimes. Ottolenghi 1997 lists data on the concentration camps in North and East Africa. Research on the deportations of Libyans and East Africans to Italy gathered momentum in the 2000s, in part through international collaboration: Lenci 2004 is an accessible introduction to the deportations of Eritreans, and Sury and Malgeri 2005 offers Italian documentation on Libyan exiles. Although much has been published on Italian atrocities, there is still much to be established, and new information continues to surface. Dominioni 2008 is a recent presentation of Italian conquest in Ethiopia with fresher data regarding abuses than found in Sbacchi 1985 (cited under Ethiopia and Italian East Africa), not least because the author verified the facts of one massacre by traveling to the site and uncovering victims’ remains. New evidence continues to surface; Bernhard 2012 produces materials concerning officially sanctioned targeting of Arabs, Berbers, and Jews by Italians in Libya during the Second World War, and Salerno 2008 provides an account of the vicissitudes endured by Jews during this period, while German and Italian forces were still in control.

                                                                                                                                                                      • Bernhard, Patrick. “Behind the Battle Lines: Italian Atrocities and the Persecution of Arabs, Berbers, and Jews in North Africa during World War II.” Holocaust and Genocide Studies 26.3 (2012): 425–446.

                                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1093/hgs/dcs054Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                        Partly based on newly accessed German materials bearing on Italian atrocities in North Africa, argues that the colonial setting exacerbated levels of Italian dehumanization and cruelty toward colonized populations, even beyond war crimes perpetrated in other settings of the war, such as in Croatia and Greece.

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                                                                                                                                                                        • Del Boca, Angelo, ed. I gas di Mussolini: Il fascismo e la guerra d’Etiopia. Rome: Editori riuniti, 1996.

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                                                                                                                                                                          The essential work on Italy’s uses of chemical weapons in Ethiopia, edited by the scholar who first proved they had been used. Opening essay traces the long story of state denials and researchers’ discoveries.

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                                                                                                                                                                          • Del Boca, Angelo. Italiani, brava gente? Vicenza, Italy: Neri Pozza, 2005.

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                                                                                                                                                                            Covers the darkest pages of modern Italian history, including abuses in the colonies: the Nokra concentration camp in Eritrea and camps in Libya, deportations of Libyans, forced labor in Somalia, and massacres and the use of chemical weapons in Ethiopia. By Italy’s foremost and most prolific historian of all of the above.

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                                                                                                                                                                            • Dominioni, Matteo. Lo sfascio dell’impero: Gli italiani in Etiopia, 1936–1941. Rome and Bari, Italy: Laterza, 2008.

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                                                                                                                                                                              Valuable new documentation of Italian atrocities in the colonies. Author added fieldwork to archival research and substantiated the memory of a 1939 massacre by locating the human remains. An excellent illustration of the fact that research on Italian colonial military activities is hardly complete.

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                                                                                                                                                                              • Lenci, Marco. All’inferno e ritorno: Storie di deportati tra Italia ed Eritrea in epoca coloniale. Pisa, Italy: Biblioteca Franco Serantini, 2004.

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                                                                                                                                                                                Presents illustrative cases of the earliest deportations of colonized subjects, from encampments in Eritrea to the removal of Eritreans to Italy, and their subsequent return. Archival materials supplemented by some personal testimonies.

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                                                                                                                                                                                • Ottolenghi, Gustavo. Gli Italiani e il colonialismo: I campi di detenzione italiani in Africa. Milan: Sugarco, 1997.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  Detailed archival documentation of camps in north and east Africa, and daily routines for the detainees.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  • Salerno, Eric. Uccideteli tutti: Libia 1943: Gli ebrei nel campo di concentramento fascista di Giado: Una storia italiana. Milan: Il Saggiatore, 2008.

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                                                                                                                                                                                    Thorough account, based on texts and interviews, of the internment of Libyan Jews in the camp at Jado in 1943. Also provides a useful chronology of the treatment of Libyan Jews under Mussolini and the events of the Second World War.

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                                                                                                                                                                                    • Sury, Salaheddin Hasan, and Giampaolo Malgeri, eds. Gli esiliati libici nel periodo coloniale (1911–1916). Rome: Istituto Italiano per l’Africa e l’Oriente, 2005.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      Following up on three joint Italian-Libyan conferences on Libyan deportees to Italy, this volume offers primary Italian documentation related to the detention of Libyans on four islands: Ponza, Tremiti, Ustica, and Favignana.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      Racial, Native, and Ethnic Policies

                                                                                                                                                                                      Much of the scholarship on Italian colonial rule aims to counter a prevalent image among Italians of having been “good, decent” people in the colonies, or “Italiani brava gente.” In addition to the atrocities Italians committed, which obviously contradict this image, questions about racialization also raise the specter of Italians as “bad” colonizers, or ones no better than the French, the British, and others. In particular, the 1937 creation of laws prohibiting interracial unions and miscegenation is seen by some (such as Labanca 2002, cited under General Overviews) as a move toward apartheid that preceded South Africa’s, demonstrating that Italians were not only not less racist than others, but perhaps even more so. At the same time, ample documentation shows that many Italians, civil servants included, often disregarded the laws barring them from sexual and family relations with the colonized. Labanca 1999 is a good starting point to understand the historiographic trajectory up until its publication date, and De Donno 2006 is a helpful introduction to the definitions of “race” in circulation among Italians during the colonial era. Sòrgoni 1998 (cited under Gender, Sex, and Kinship) is the earliest, and still essential, work on intersections of Italian views of race and sexuality in colonial Eritrea. Barrera 2002 demonstrates that even though Liberal-era (1861–1922) policies there may appear to have been less discriminatory than the ones developed under fascism, the two approaches were meant to achieve the same goal of Italian dominance. More streamlined versions of Barrera’s materials appear in short publications. On the period before racial laws became more stringent, see Barrera in Palumbo 2003 (cited under Italian Colonial Culture); the laws devised from the mid-1930s on are discussed in Barrera 2003. A lucid analysis of the twists and turns of native and citizenship policy in colonial Libya is Biasutti 2004. Also concerning Libya, Spadaro 2013 brings a more theoretically informed eye to the complexities of race, gender, and class differences. De Felice 1985 and Roumani 2008 both describe Libyan Jews’ experiences from Ottoman to Italian rule and beyond.

                                                                                                                                                                                      • Barrera, Giulia. “Colonial Affairs: Italian Men, Eritrean Women, and the Construction of Racial Hierarchies in Colonial Eritrea (1885–1941).” PhD diss., Northwestern University, 2002.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        Groundbreaking work solving the apparent dilemma faced by scholars, namely that “native policy” during the Liberal era could be interpreted as more lenient and inclusive than the policies created under fascism. Shows conclusively that the two approaches stemmed from a single and unchanging motivation, to marginalize and exploit the colonized.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        • Barrera, Giulia. “Mussolini’s Colonial Race Laws and State-Settler Relations in Africa Orientale Italiana (1935–41).” Journal of Modern Italian Studies 8.3 (2003): 425–443.

                                                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1080/09585170320000113770Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                          One of the publications drawn from Barrera 2002. Addresses the contradictions between Mussolini’s government agenda in the 1937 laws prohibiting interracial unions and Italians’ frequent disregard for the laws.

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                                                                                                                                                                                          • Biasutti, Giambattista. “La politica indigena italiana in Libia: Dall’occupazione al termine del governatorato di Italo Balbo: 1911–1940.” PhD diss., University of Pavia, 2004.

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                                                                                                                                                                                            Most complete documentation to date of the twists and turns of Italian “native policy” in Libya.

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                                                                                                                                                                                            • De Donno, Fabrizio. “La Razza Ario-Mediterranea: Ideas of Race and Citizenship in Colonial and Fascist Italy, 1885–1941.” Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies 8.3 (2006): 394–412.

                                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1080/13698010600955958Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                              Useful introduction to the debates over definitions of the “race” of Italians, debates that shaped racialized thinking in the colonies. Appropriate for undergraduates.

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                                                                                                                                                                                              • De Felice, Renzo. Jews in an Arab Land: Libya, 1835–1970. Translated by Judith Roumani. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1985.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                English translation of Ebrei in un paese arabo: Gli ebrei nella Libia contemporanea tra colonialismo, nazionalismo arabo e sionismo (1835–1970), first published in 1978. Details shifts in Libyan Jews’ status from late Ottoman rule, through Italian colonialism, the Second World War, and their departure. An essential foundation, ideally used with Roumani 2008.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                • Labanca, Nicola. “Il razzismo coloniale italiano.” In Nel nome della razza: Il razzismo nella storia d’Italia 1870–1945. Edited by Alberto Burgio, 145–163. Bologna, Italy: Il Mulino, 1999.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  A good introduction to questions of the treatment of racialization and racial abuses in the historiography of Italian colonial rule.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Roumani, Maurice. The Jews of Libya: Coexistence, Persecution, Resettlement. Brighton, UK, and Portland, OR: Sussex Academic Press, 2008.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    Most up-to-date work on Libyan Jews, only part of which concerns Italian rule. The rest of the book proceeds to their settlement in Israel and the departures of the last Libyan Jews in 1967. Follows up on De Felice 1985, which remains an important source.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Spadaro, Barbara. Una colonia italiana: Incontri, memorie e rappresentazioni tra Italia e Libia. Florence: Le Monnier, 2013.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      Tackles intersections of gender and class roles among Italians in Libya, with particular respect to the notion of “whiteness.”

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      Gender, Sex, and Kinship

                                                                                                                                                                                                      For decades before the 1937 laws barring Italians from forming interracial unions—in fact, from the start of Italian rule in Eritrea—Italian men practiced madamismo (also called madamato), or semi-contractual temporary marriage, with local women. These domestic arrangements often produced children, some of whom were recognized by their fathers, but many of whom were eventually abandoned, leading the Catholic Church to raise the ones their mothers brought to the orphanages as Catholic and Italian-speaking, giving rise to a new social group of Italo-Eritreans. Sòrgoni 1998 was the first major work on madamismo, analyzing texts from a historical-anthropological and theoretical perspective. Barrera 2002 (cited under Racial, Native, and Ethnic Policies) addresses the affective ties that often developed in these relations, as do Barrera’s contributions in Triulzi 2002 (cited under Eritrea) and Ben-Ghiat and Fuller 2005 (cited under Anthologies). Iyob 2000 asserts that the inequities of such intercultural sexual ties in colonial Eritrea have persisted in post-independence Eritrea, while Ponzanesi 2012 seeks to unveil the experiences and motivations of the women involved. Trento 2012 compares madamismo in late-1930s Ethiopia with what had occurred for decades in Eritrea. Colonial civil servant Alberto Pollera’s ethnographic writings, administrative career, and domestic relationships with colonized women are the subject of Sòrgoni 2007. Stefani 2007 studies Italian male identity in colonial Ethiopia. Spadaro 2013 (cited under Racial, Native, and Ethnic Policies) is also relevant here with respect to Libya, where Cresti 1996 (cited under Agricultural and “Demographic” Colonization) provides some evidence of intermarriage. Intermarriage was much more common and publicly acknowledged in the Dodecanese Islands, as treated in Doumanis 1997 (cited under Oral History and Subaltern Histories).

                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Iyob, Ruth. “Madamismo and Beyond: The Construction of Eritrean Women.” Nineteenth-Century Contexts: An Interdisciplinary Journal 22.2 (2000): 217–238.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1080/08905490008583509Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                        A historical consideration of the gender and power inequities involved in madamismo relations, which forms the basis for a provocative j’accuse regarding the reproduction of those gaps in post-independence Eritrea.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Ponzanesi, Sandra. “The Color of Love: Madamismo and Interracial Relationships in the Italian Colonies.” Research in African Literatures 43.2 (2012): 155–172.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.2979/reseafrilite.43.2.155Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Examines madamismo from the perspective of participating women’s motivation and experience, on the basis of literary representations.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Sòrgoni, Barbara. Parole e corpi: Antropologia, discorso giuridico e politiche sessuali interrazziali nella colonia Eritrea (1890–1941). Naples, Italy: Liguori, 1998.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                            First substantive work bringing a historical-anthropological eye to Italy’s juridical discourses concerning interracial unions in Eritrea as they evolved over time.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Sòrgoni, Barbara. “The Scripts of Alberto Pollera, an Italian Officer in Colonial Eritrea: Administration, Ethnography, and Gender.” In Ordering Africa: Anthropology, European Imperialism, and the Politics of Knowledge. Edited by Helen Tilley with Robert J. Gordon, 285–308. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 2007.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                              Describes the proto-ethnographic work of one colonial civil servant who published on local cultures in Eritrea and Ethiopia and epitomizes the Italian administrator who enforced official racial differentiation but also had children with, and then married, local women, recognizing his children and in practice defying the policies he upheld officially.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Stefani, Giulietta. Colonia per maschi: Italiani in Africa Orientale, una storia di genere. Verona, Italy: Ombre corte, 2007.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                An unusual work of historical and literary analysis emphasizing male sexuality and identity within the interracial and sexual colonial context of Italian East Africa. Starts from the premise that Italian masculinity was in need of repair, and the violence and sexual “conquest” of the colonial setting provided “therapy.”

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Trento, Giovanna. “Ethiopian-Italians: Italian Colonialism in Ethiopia and Gender Legacies.” Arabian Humanities [online] 17 (2012).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Discusses madamismo in Italy’s brief years in Ethiopia, pointing out that children of those unions were not as stigmatized as their counterparts in Eritrea. Originally appeared in the online publication Chroniques yéménites.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Religious Policies

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Unlike racial and native policies, religious ones did not greatly preoccupy Italian colonial administration. Italian authorities were eager not to offend political elites of the Islamic world (in hopes of better relations with them than those France and Britain had), and thus did not pursue particularly harsh policies with respect to Muslims—at least, not on the basis of their religion. Christian clerics in East Africa and the Dodecanese Islands, however, suffered abuses and even massacres (in Ethiopia), largely because they wielded secular authority that posed a challenge to Italian rule. Marongiu Buonaiuti 1982 offers the only full overview of religious policy in Italy’s African colonies, and Marongiu Buonaiuti 1979 covers religious policy in the Dodecanese Islands during fascist rule (1922–1943). Several Catholic missions ran schools and orphanages in Libya and Italian East Africa, although independent of state support, as the Church and Italy were not on speaking terms from 1870 until the Lateran Accords of 1929. Ianari 1995 discusses missions in Libya, Uoldelul Chelati Dirar’s contribution in Triulzi 2002 (cited under Eritrea) describes competing missions in colonial Eritrea, and a few of the papers published in Ghezzi 1996 (cited under Anthologies) also present material on missionary activities. Until the 1938 “racial laws” imposing economic and social limitations on Italian Jews, Jews in the Italian colonies were not treated as a separate religious group per se; their experiences under those laws and through the Second World War are recounted in De Felice 1985 and Roumani 2008 (cited under Racial, Native, and Ethnic Policies).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Ianari, Vittorio. Chiesa, coloni e Islam: Religione e politica nella Libia italiana. Turin, Italy: SEI, 1995.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                    More concerned with missions to Libya, and interactions between the Roman Catholic Church and the state, than with religious policy per se.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Marongiu Buonaiuti, Cesare. La politica religiosa del fascismo nel Dodecanneso. Naples, Italy: Giannini, 1979.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Straightforward treatment of Italian religious policy in the Dodecanese during fascism. Followed up by Marongiu Buonaiuti 1982, which takes on the more complex history and issues of religious policy in the African colonies.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Marongiu Buonaiuti, Cesare. Politica e religioni nel colonialismo italiano (1882–1941). Milan: Giuffrè, 1982.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Most important and thorough survey of Italian religious policy, with respect to Islam and Christianity, throughout the African colonies, whereas Marongiu Buonaiuti 1979 treats the Dodecanese Islands alone.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Archeology and Tourism

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Italian colonial propagandists’ insistence on framing modern-era expansion as a “return” to the past glory of the Roman Empire as well as some of the lands which that empire had once controlled, such as in Libya and the eastern Mediterranean, relied on classical archaeology and its retrieval of the vestiges of empire. By definition, this attitude omitted the East African territories under Italy’s control, and the scholarship on Italian archeology and tourism in the colonies indicates as much. Altekamp 2000 is the most thorough recounting of the Italian archeological project in Libya, while Munzi 2001 focuses on the “return” to Tripolitania. Archeology and urban development were inextricable in the Dodecanese Islands, and they are well documented in Ciacci 1991, Livadiotti and Rocco 1996, and Martinoli and Perotti 1999. As scholarship on Italian colonialism develops, more scholars are working comparatively or juxtaposing related situations, as Troilo 2012 does for archeology in Rhodes and Libya. New work also emphasizes the utilitarian value and ideological imbrications of tourism with colonialism, in particular McLaren 2006 and Hom 2012.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Altekamp, Stefan. Rückkehr nach Afrika: Italienische Kolonialarchäologie in Libyen, 1911–1943. Cologne: Böhlau Verlag, 2000.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Comprehensive description of Italian classical archeology in Tripolitania and Cyrenaica, throughout the long war of “pacification” waged by Italian forces, changes in Italian governance, and the intensification of both archeology and touristic development under Governor Italo Balbo (1934–1940).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Ciacci, Leonardo. Rodi italiana: 1912–1923: Come si inventa una città. Venice: Marsilio, 1991.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Useful account of military occupation and first archeological interventions in Rhodes, along with the redesign of its medieval city.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Hom, Stephanie Malia. “Empires of Tourism: Travel and Rhetoric in Italian Colonial Libya and Albania.” Journal of Tourism History 4.3 (2012): 281–300.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1080/1755182X.2012.711374Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Approaches tourism and colonialism as mutually constitutive with respect to Italy’s first and last Mediterranean colonies, and the “return” of ancient Rome to some of its former provinces.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Livadiotti, Monica, and Giorgio Rocco, eds. La presenza italiana nel Dodecaneso tra il 1912 e il 1948: La ricerca archeologica, la conservazione, le scelte progettuali. Catania, Italy: Edizioni del Prisma, 1996.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Sponsored by the Italian Archeological School in Athens, this is not a critical source, but it provides thorough documentation unavailable elsewhere concerning Italian archeological and restoration works in the Dodecanese Islands, as well as city planning and architecture.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Martinoli, Simona, and Eliana Perotti. Architettura coloniale italiana nel Dodecaneso, 1912–1943. Turin, Italy: Edizioni Fondazione Giovanni Agnelli, 1999.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  A substantial work that balances thick documentation and analysis with critical perspective. Covers the history of the Dodecanese Islands’ occupation, archeological practice, the handling of the medieval city of Rhodes, and the complexity of Italian decisions concerning the remains of four centuries of Ottoman rule.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • McLaren, Brian L. Architecture and Tourism in Italian Colonial Libya. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2006.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Sophisticated architectural-historical analysis of hotel designs as part of the “tourism offensive” in late-1930s Libya, after colonial rule had become secure. Generous visual documentation.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Munzi, Massimiliano. L’epica del ritorno: Archeologia e politica nella Tripolitania italiana. Rome: “L’Erma” di Bretschneider, 2001.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      A narrower work than Altekamp 2000, tracing the ideology of “romanità” (ancient-Roman-ness) as the hinge linking archeology to colonial politics, under the rubric of Rome’s “return” to its former province of Tripolitania.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Troilo, Simona. “‘A Gust of Cleansing Wind’: Italian Archeology on Rhodes and in Libya in the Early Years of Occupation (1911–1914).” Journal of Modern Italian Studies 17.1 (2012): 45–69.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1080/1354571X.2012.628103Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Addresses the intertwining of colonial ideology and archeological practice in colonial Rhodes and Libya. Details conflicts between archeologists and Italian colonial officers in the immediate aftermath of occupation, showing their diverging aims regarding potential uses of the built environment.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The Built Environment

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        In part because large numbers of Italians settled in some colonial areas, Italians built a great deal there, and by the 1920s architects and administrators engaged in heated discussions of the uses of design and above all, urban planning, in controlling and persuading populations—the colonized, of course, but Italian subjects as well. A number of scholarly works concern architecture, but the sources cited here specifically concern the built environment as invested with political purpose by Italian colonizers. The first attempt at an overall view is Gresleri, et al. 1993. Uoldelul Chelati Dirar 2004 and Locatelli 2009 offer studies of the politics of urban space, and some unexpected outcomes, in Eritrea. Libya, where Italians built most extensively, is the subject of von Henneberg 1996, and Capresi 2009 documents the 1930s villages built for Italian settlers there. Fuller 2007 discusses Libya, Eritrea, Ethiopia, and the Dodecanese comparatively, throughout the colonial period.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Capresi, Vittoria. L’utopia costruita: I centri rurali di fondazione in Libia (1934–1940) = The Built Utopia: The Italian Rural Centres Founded in Colonial Libya (1934–1940). Bologna, Italy: Bononia University Press, 2009.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Unique work documenting the state-sponsored villages built for Italian farmer-settlers in Libya, on the basis of field visits and measurements as well as scholarship. In Italian and English, richly illustrated.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Fuller, Mia. Moderns Abroad: Architecture, Cities, and Italian Imperialism. London: Routledge, 2007.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Comparative study of architectural design and city planning as theorized by Italians across their colonies—primarily Eritrea, Libya, the Dodecanese Islands, and Ethiopia—as well as of gaps between theory and practice.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Gresleri, Giuliano, Pier Giorgio Massaretti, and Stefano Zagnoni, eds. Architettura italiana d’oltremare: 1870–1940. Venice: Marsilio, 1993.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The first comprehensive work on architectural design, city planning, and political control throughout all the Italian colonies. Detailed and well documented, it remains essential.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Locatelli, Francesca. “Beyond the Campo Cintato: Prostitutes, Migrants and ‘Criminals’ in Colonial Asmara (Eritrea), 1890–1941.” In African Cities: Competing Claims on Urban Spaces. Edited by Francesca Locatelli and Paul Nugent, 219–240. Leiden, The Netherlands, and Boston: Brill, 2009.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1163/ej.9789004162648.i-308.62Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Treats the increase of suffering and poverty in Asmara’s “native quarters” under colonial rule in connection with migrants from Ethiopia, prostitution, and criminality.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Uoldelul Chelati Dirar. “From Warriors to Urban Dwellers: Ascari and the Military Factor in the Urban Development of Colonial Eritrea.” Cahiers d’Études Africaines 175 (2004): 533–574.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Argues that indigenous Eritrean soldiers—askari—operated as a buffer group between Eritreans and Italians in the Eritrean capital, Asmara, and emphasizes the urban dimension of this development and its long-term consequences.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • von Henneberg, Krystyna Clara. “The Construction of Fascist Libya: Modern Colonial Architecture and Urban Planning in Italian North Africa (1922–1943).” PhD diss., University of California, Berkeley, 1996.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Considers architectural design and city planning in Tripoli and the designs of the settlers’ villages elsewhere in Libya, with pronounced emphasis on power relations both overt and covert.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Italian Colonial Culture

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    For a long time, published representations of the colonies were easier to access than the relevant archives, and as a result there is a good body of work on colonial depictions and discourses in the metropole, as well as on the operations of Italian culture in the colonies. Labanca 1992 investigates how the colonies were presented didactically to Italians through museums and exhibitions, while Castelli and Laurenzi 2000 discusses a wider variety of cultural forms. In English, Polezzi 2003 gives a sense of the kinds of images circulated in Italy regarding East Africa, and the coherence among them. Palumbo 2003 offers a good selection of work on literary and film images and their operation in Italian culture; Ben-Ghiat 2003 discusses cinema made by Italians for the consumption of the colonized as well as the colonizers. Burdett 2010 is less concerned with visual images or tropes, instead showing how the eschatological aspect of fascist ideology made use of the idea of Libya, as a particularly apt site for the break with the past and charge into the future that fascism called for.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Ben-Ghiat, Ruth. “The Italian Colonial Cinema: Agendas and Audiences.” Modern Italy 8.1 (2003): 49–63.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1080/1353294032000074070Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Fundamental article on Italian cinema in and about the colonies, how it was intended to affect Italian and African audiences, and ways in which it produced unintended reactions.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Burdett, Charles. “Italian Fascism, Messianic Eschatology and the Representation of Libya.” Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions 11.1 (2010): 3–25.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1080/14690764.2010.499667Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Juxtaposes fascist political theory touting the end of historical time and the dawn of a new era with depictions of colonial Libya in the 1930s. Also links eschatological ideology with justifications for atrocities. Ideally combined with Piccioli’s propagandistic volumes (Piccioli 1926, Piccioli 1935, and Piccioli and De Bono 1933, all cited under Primary Sources).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Castelli, Enrico, and David Laurenzi, eds. Permanenze e metamorfosi dell’immaginario coloniale in Italia. Revised papers presented to the meeting held in Perugia, 1998. Naples, Italy: Edizioni scientifiche italiane, 2000.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Drawing on papers from a 1998 colloquium, this collection analyzes literary and visual images of the colonies consumed by Italians, and the colonial imaginary more generally.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Labanca, Nicola, ed. L’Africa in vetrina: Storie di musei e di esposizioni coloniali in Italia. Treviso, Italy: Pagus, 1992.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Wide-ranging collection of essays on representations of the colonies in Italian museums and exhibitions.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Palumbo, Patrizia, ed. A Place in the Sun: Africa in Italian Colonial Culture from Post-Unification to the Present. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Provides a survey of topics in the study of Italian colonial culture, emphasizing literature and film.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Polezzi, Loredana. “Imperial Reproductions: The Circulation of Colonial Images across Popular Genres and Media in the 1920s and 1930s.” Modern Italy 8.1 (2003): 31–47.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1080/1353294032000074061Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Discusses Italian representations of colonial East Africa across media and genres and their coherence, from geography to tourism imagery.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Oral History and Subaltern Histories

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Taddia 1988 and Taddia 1996 were the first publications documenting Italy’s colonial past through oral history, and remain useful benchmarks. D’Agostino 2012 discusses the difficulties of practicing oral history in politically oppressive contexts. Doumanis 1997 is an indispensable milestone for our understanding of Italian rule in the Dodecanese, thanks to its sophisticated use of oral history as a counterbalance to Greek historiography. For Libya, Anderson 1991 and Ahmida 2005 are good companion pieces, as the first explains the massive oral history project carried out in Libya in recent decades, while the second gives a close-reading example of the use of oral sources in developing history that is not shaped by the administrative archives.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Ahmida, Ali Abdullatif. Forgotten Voices: Power and Agency in Colonial and Postcolonial Libya. New York: Routledge, 2005.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Like Ahmida 2009 (cited under Libya), emphasizes the beginnings of state formation prior to Italian rule. Explores Libyan literary materials as a source for the postcolonial writing of Libya’s colonial history.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Anderson, Lisa. “Legitimacy, Identity, and History in Libya.” In Statecraft in the Middle East: Oil, Historical Memory, and Popular Culture. Edited by Eric Davis and Nicolas E. Gavrielides, 71–91. Miami: Florida University Press, 1991.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Explains the vast oral history project begun in 1970s Libya as a corrective to European historiography, or lack thereof, concerning modern Libya and abuses perpetrated under Italian rule.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • D’Agostino, Gabriella. Altre storie: Memoria dell’Italia in Eritrea. Bologna, Italy: Archetipolibri, 2012.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Methodologically current work by a cultural anthropologist, based on interviews with Eritrean-born ethnic Italians, Italo-Eritreans, and Eritrean-Eritreans. Describes the country’s oppressive political atmosphere at the time of the author’s interviews in 2003, and its impact on the interviews.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Doumanis, Nicholas. Myth and Memory in the Mediterranean: Remembering Fascism’s Empire. New York: St. Martin’s, 1997.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1057/9780230376953Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        History “from below,” exploring mixed memories in the Dodecanese. Interviewees do not corroborate some Italians’ reliance on their image of Italian colonizers as brava gente (good people), but nor do they affirm the wholly negative experience typically described in Greek nationalist historiography (e.g., Tsirpanlis 1998, cited under Dodecanese Islands).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Taddia, Irma. La memoria dell’Impero: Autobiografie d’Africa Orientale. Manduria, Italy: Lacaita, 1988.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          First collection of oral-historical material gathered from ex-colonial Italians returned from Italian East Africa. Important introductory essay on the use of oral history for the study of colonial rule. Followed by Taddia 1996.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Taddia, Irma. Autobiografie africane: Il colonialismo nelle memorie orali. Milan: FrancoAngeli, 1996.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Groundbreaking collection of oral-historical material gathered from formerly colonized interviewees in Eritrea and Ethiopia concerning their recollections of Italian rule. Follow-up to Taddia 1988.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Legacies and Omissions

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Andall and Duncan 2005 and Andall and Duncan 2010 are the most broadly useful sources here, as they provide good selections of current scholarship on the aftereffects of Italian colonialism in Italy and its former colonies. Relevant sources elsewhere in the Bibliography include Ahmida 2005 and Doumanis 1997 (both cited under Oral History and Subaltern Histories). More particularly related to memory in Libya is Ahmida 2006. An urban inquiry into the unaltered visibility of Italian architecture in Asmara today is Fuller 2011, and Triulzi 2006 shows the influence of Eritrean and Ethiopian memories of Italian rule in the context of today’s politics. See Burdett 2000 for a study of one group of Italian ex-colonials and how they recall their experiences as settlers, and von Henneberg 2004 for Italy’s monuments to colonialism, which still stand today although their “memory” is largely vacant. Finally, see Lombardi-Diop and Romeo 2012 for the most comprehensive new collection of works on postcolonial political and cultural legacies in Italy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Ahmida, Ali Abdullatif. “When the Subaltern Speak: Memory of Genocide in Colonial Libya 1929 to 1933.” Italian Studies 61.2 (2006): 175–190.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1179/007516306X142924Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Condemns Italian “amnesia” regarding the colonial “pacification”—or genocide—in Cyrenaica, and analyzes counter-archival materials of Libyan oral history and folk poetry.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Andall, Jacqueline, and Derek Duncan, eds. Italian Colonialism: Legacy and Memory. Oxford and New York: Peter Lang, 2005.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Essential collection of essays on history, memories, and legacies of Italian colonialism, framed through literature, cinema, monuments, sexual politics, immigration, and nostalgia for Italian rule.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Andall, Jacqueline, and Derek Duncan, eds. National Belongings: Hybridity in Italian Colonial and Postcolonial Cultures. Oxford and New York: Peter Lang, 2010.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Essential collection of essays on colonial memories, migration, the rewriting of history, Italian borderlands as colonial spaces, and language.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Burdett, Charles. “Journeys to Italian East Africa 1936–1941: Narratives of Settlement.” Journal of Modern Italian Studies 5.2 (2000): 207–226.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1080/13545710050084359Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Explores how nostalgic Italian ex-colonials narrate their past as settlers, their return to Italy, and their memories of Italian East Africa.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Fuller, Mia. “Italy’s Colonial Futures: Colonial Inertia and Postcolonial Capital in Asmara.” California Italian Studies 2.1 (2011).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Investigation into why the Italian architecture that characterizes Eritrea’s capital has not been modified but rather has been actively preserved. Argues that Eritreans derive anti-Ethiopian cultural capital from having been colonized by Italy.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Lombardi-Diop, Cristina, and Caterina Romeo, eds. Postcolonial Italy: Challenging National Homogeneity. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1057/9781137281463Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The first substantial investigation in English into linkages between Italy’s colonial past and its current dilemmas with respect to racially motivated abuses, the mistreatment of recent immigrants, and literary and cinematic depictions of Italy’s newly multiethnic and multicultural society.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Triulzi, Alessandro. “The Past as Contested Territory: Commemorating New Sites of Memory in Ethiopia.” In Violence, Political Cultures and Development. Edited by Preben Kaarsholm, 122–138. Oxford: James Currey, 2006.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Discusses the intertwined memorializations of Italian occupation and of the 1998–2000 conflict between Eritrea and Ethiopia.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • von Henneberg, Krystyna. “Monuments, Public Space and the Memory of Empire in Modern Italy.” History and Memory 16.1 (2004): 37–85.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1353/ham.2004.0003Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Unique article on monuments to colonial defeats in Italy, including Adwa, and for scholars of memory, the implications of memorializing non-victory.

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