Professor Silvana Patriarca’s Research on Race and Nation in Post World War II Italy

Posted in Articles, Europe, History, Media Archive, United States on 2016-04-01 02:52Z by Steven

Professor Silvana Patriarca’s Research on Race and Nation in Post World War II Italy

History at Fordham University
Fordham University: The Jesuit University of New York

Aurora Pfefferkorn

Dr. Silvana Patriarca

Professor Silvana Patriarca is a faculty member in the Fordham University History department and specializes in modern Italian history. She is currently exploring the interaction between ideas of nation and “race” and working on a book about the history of racism in post-World War II Italy. Her new book will focus on “mixed-race” children born in Italy during the Allied occupation. These children were born to Italian mothers and non-white Allied soldiers, and were highly racialized in the post-war period.

Dr. Patriarca had initially started her research with a different topic in mind, but became interested in the post-war period when she discovered a lack of scholarship about race and racism in Italy after 1945. She began to focus on the experiences of mix-raced Italian children when she came across a 1961 Italian anthropometric study of a group of mixed-race children born during and right after WWII. The children had been measured in all sorts of invasive way to determine the physical, intellectual, and psychological traits that distinguished them, as if they were a group apart from a racial standpoint. “I found the book offensive and asked myself what do we know about the experiences of these children? I wondered what happened to them at that time and after [these studies were finished]?” Dr. Patriarca said. She saw these racial studies as linked to the large issue of Italian identity, the war experience, and the trauma of defeat. Fascist and racist ideas still circulated throughout Italy after World War II and permeated the scientific community especially. “Of course mentalities are slow to change,” Dr. Patriarca explained “It was troubling that many historians could still not see the intersection of nation and race in the postwar period and the lingering effects of fascism and racism on national identity.”…

Read the entire article here.

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