Call for papers for “Italy and the post-colonial world” seminar at University of Palermo

19-20 November 2021, University of Palermo

SISSCO (Società Italiana per lo Studio della Storia Contemporanea) has organised a research seminar supported by the ASMI (Association for the Study of Modern Italy) on the topic of “Italy and the Post-colonial world: Cooperation and mobility between decolonization and the Cold-War (1960-1989)”.

The seminar on Cooperation and Mobility will take place at the University of Palermo on 19-20 November 2021.

This past year has witnessed the resurgence of global protest, aimed at tackling both material and cultural traces of the colonial period. In particular, protestors highlighted the problematic and partially unacknowledged presence of those colonial legacies in Western societies.
In Italy, these protests of 2020 coincided with some significant anniversaries. First, in July 1960, the ten-year Italian trusteeship of Somalia (AFIS) ending, concluding Italy’s formal presence in the now former colony. Second, another anniversary includes 1970, when the last
remaining Italian settlers were forcibly expelled from Gaddafi’s Libya. Those events happened when the history of Italian colonialism seemed to be largely forgotten, whereas the interest of political and economic forces turned towards a new interest in the former colonial world. Law
n. 1222 (1971) provided the first legal framework concerning the projects of developmental cooperation managed by Italian Foreign Office.

Their goal is to explore these different processes within a single methodological framework. More specifically, Seminar 1 aims to shed light on the possible interconnections between Italy and the post-colonial world in terms of political and economic relationships, mobility processes and cultural relations. The chronological span ranges from 1960 – the “year of Africa” but also the one in which the formal relationship between Italy and Somalia ended – and 1989, which marked the end of the polarized system that characterized the Cold War. In so doing, they foster multidisciplinary and transnational dialogues around the theme of the new relationships Italy established with the formerly colonized world and with people migrating from those countries.

They seek contributions dealing with political negotiations, themes, and processes concerning the implementation of aid and development cooperation programs (food, energy, infrastructural and military fields); migratory flows of people with different expertise to and from recently independent countries (such as the circulation of students or personnel with technical expertise such as architects and engineers as part of political-diplomatic strategies); the establishment of Italian schools abroad and, more generally, education paths between newly independent countries and Italy. In analysing such topics, we seek to foster a reflection on the extent to which the missing critique of Italy’s colonial past may influence the new political, economic, and cultural projection of Italy in the former colonial countries as well as
the perception of incoming migrant fluxes, which have increased since the 1970s.

They invite contributions (individual papers or pre-arranged panels) dealing with the topic. Please send abstracts of max. 300 words and a short bio (with current affiliation) of max. 100 words to by 15 September 2021.

Selected papers will be announced on 1 October 2021; the final programme will be announced by 15 October 2021.

Read more here:

We remind you that Archives Portal Europe has a topic focused on colonialism: you can explore it at

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