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Black Babies/White Sovereignties: Tammurriata nera as a Perverse Mechanism of US and Italian Colonialisms

Abstract : In this paper we argue that a full acknowledgment of Italian post-colonial responsibility is only possible once we properly supplant problematic, xenophobic and narrow definitions of a unified Italian identity. As the brief for this special issue proposes, post-WWII and following the fall of Fascism, Italy's colonial heritage practically disappeared from public discourse. Simultaneously, the national myth of 'Italiani brava gente'the notion that Italians are well-meaning, good people, relieving Italian nationhood from admitting colonial culpability and hence taking post-colonial responsibility (cf. Del Boca 2010-2012)began to pervade representations in film and song. We argue that 'Italiani brava gente' can be understood as articulating limited Northern-centric notions of Italianness, tracing back to limited definitions of unified national identity and belonging. We propose that a 'post-Italian' dialoguewhich looks beyond received notions of national unity, and instead inquires about the stories that can and must be told from Italy's various internal and external colonial peripheries (cf. Messina 2016)is a way to move beyond the resilient national myth of 'Italiani brava gente'. In this paper we explore what we argue to be a Southern Italian manifestation of 'Italiani brava gente'the racist Neapolitan song Tammurriata nera. Looking to a recent performance of Tammurriata nera in the documentary film Passione (2010), we find an example of properly 'post-Italian' dialogue and of the complex racial problematics involved in imagining an expanded horizon of Italianness.
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Contributor : Marcello Messina <>
Submitted on : Thursday, December 10, 2020 - 2:37:19 PM
Last modification on : Friday, December 18, 2020 - 3:04:15 AM


Capogreco, Messina (2020) Blac...
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Stefania Capogreco, Marcello Messina. Black Babies/White Sovereignties: Tammurriata nera as a Perverse Mechanism of US and Italian Colonialisms. FULGOR, 2020, 6 (2). ⟨halshs-03029169⟩



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