Past Event

From Africa to the Balkans: New Perspectives on Colonialism and Material Culture in Fascist Italy

October 16, 2008 - October 17, 2008
2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
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Organized by Lidia Santarelli (NYU) and Jennie Hirsh (Maryland Institute College of Art)

Co-sponsored by the Center for European and Mediterranean Studies, NYU; Maryland Institute College of Art; the Italian Cultural Institute of New York; the Program in Hellenic Studies at Columbia University, and the Arnold A. Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies at Columbia University. 

“From Africa to the Balkans” is an interdisciplinary conference aimed at addressing a lacuna in the historiography of modern Italy and its relationship to the Mediterranean world. The past two decades have witnessed a significant increase in scholarly inquiries into the history, ideology, and material culture that evolved under Italian colonialism in Africa. More recently, scholars have begun to consider similar issues as they occurred during the Italian occupation of the Balkans. By examining the emergence of Italian colonialist strategies in Africa together with those articulated in Balkan contexts, which traditionally have been studied as separate spheres, this conference initiates a new, integrated approach to the historiography of Italian history and material culture in relation to twentieth-century Mediterranean and African studies. 

Our speakers and respondents include scholars drawn from the disciplines of history, art and architectural history, and anthropology as well as literary studies. Together, they will present a wide range of research topics as well as generate stimulating dialogue that will challenge disciplinary limits. Conference sessions will fall under three rubrics: (1) Theories and Practices of Violence; (2) Social Behavior and Cultural Hybridization; and (3) Material Culture and The Built Environment.