Alberto Mario Banti

Slavery and race in the history of contemporary Italy

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The presence of racist mentalities in the history of contemporary Italy is a theme of great importance and, in some case, of burning topicality. Three new recent studies shed new light on the subject. One – by Giulia Bonazza – is particularly original because it explores the presence of slaves (and of a slave trade) in the Italian Peninsula during the period from 1750 to 1850: in addition to the fact itself, the memorial traces of these practices are important. The second – by Edoardo Barsotti – illustrates the importance of the theme of racial origins in the numerous essays that – in the Risorgimento period – are dedicated to the history of the Italian nation. The third – finally – by Silvana Patriarca, takes us further in time and describes the degree of racism with which boys and girls born from a relationship between an African-American soldier and an Italian mother in post-1945 Italy were welcomed: in this period theories still inspired by scientific racism survive; and above all, a banal, daily racism is widespread, which has sadly spilled over into the life stories of these boys and girls.


  • Racism
  • Slavery
  • Nation


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