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Research The Groningen Research Institute for the Study of Culture (ICOG) Research Research centres Research Centre for Historical Studies (CHS)

CHS guest lecture - ROBERTA BIASILLO (Utrecht University): 'Colonial Disarray: Italian Fascism in North and East Africa (1922-1943)'

When:Th 09-11-2023 16:00 - 17:30
Where:Room 1312.0007, Harmonie building & Online

This guest lecture is organized by the Centre for Historical Studies.

This talk explores the relationship between Italian fascism and its colonial possessions in North and East Africa between 1922 and 1943 and addresses the following two questions: How did fascism translate itself into its African territories? What has been the role of African colonies in shaping fascism? Environmental lenses are deployed as analytical tools to show features and shortcomings of fascist colonial enterprises.

Drawing on gaps between propagandistic and administrative primary sources, the talk reconstructs rural and extractivist stories of ecological failures and weaves such stories’ strands together into the surprisingly non-cohesive whole of the fascist political agenda. Stories from farms and villages challenge the allegedly miraculous transformation of the desert into verdant fields; stories from the mining landscape of East Africa and from the Libyan ground question the autarchic and geopolitical schemes of the regime and the role the colonies were supposed to play out in them.

Those stories are part of a larger collection aiming at offering a comprehensive understanding of Italian fascist colonial policies from the perspective of environmental history.

Moderator: Hannah Malone (RUG, History)