Italian Colonialism (edited with Mia Fuller, Palgrave, 2005, 2008)
Italian Colonialism is a pioneering anthology of texts by scholars from seven countries who represent the best of classical and newer approaches to the study of Italian imperial endeavors in Africa. Essays on the political, economic, and military aspects of Italian colonialism are featured alongside works that reflect the insights of anthropology, race and gender studies, film, architecture, and oral and cultural history. The volume includes many essays by Italian and African scholars that have never been translated into English. It is a unique resource that offers students and scholars a comprehensive view of the field.
Reviews of Italian Colonialism:
“Italian Colonialism offers a fascinating introduction to a subject that has for too long been ignored. ….Through highly readable chapters by many of the major scholars in the field, the book puts both Italian history and the history of European colonialism in a new light.”
David Kertzer, Paul Dupee Professor of Social Sciences, Brown University
“Though twentieth century Italy was its own way as aggressively ambitious and imperialist as France or Britain, the Italian colonial experience is practically unknown to English speakers. This book brings to life the sad paradoxes of Italy’s self-styled proletarian imperialism. Here, readers will find fresh documentation on the desert concentration camps where colonial conquerors interned hundreds of thousands of Libyan nomads, new details about the tons of poison gas bombs dropped to subdue Ethiopia in 1935, vivid treatment of the New Rome’s plans to renew Tripoli and build model settlements in Somalia, and sharp analysis of the colonial films created to celebrate the Italian Empire. The most telling episode, perhaps, is the pathetic fate of the unemployed colonizers of this mean-spirited imperialism on the cheap, by the eve of World War II reduced to begging food from the very people they had conquered. Gathering the expertise of fully twenty African, Italian, and American specialists, Ben-Ghiat and Fuller’s volume gives us an all-embracing history of Italy’s unedifying quest for its ‘place in the sun.'”