Apr 13 "Field Work Notes on Fascist Internment in Colonial Libya"

Please join the Mediterranean Collaborative for a Lecture by
Ali Ahmida (Political Science, University of New England)

"Genocide, Silence, and the Politics of Memory: Archival and Field Work Notes on Fascist Internment in Colonial Libya"

Friday, April 13th
4 pm Social Sciences 710

Context for the Talk: Despite Hannah Arendt’s observation in 1951, African cases of colonial genocide such as the Congo and Namibia are viewed in isolation and with no connection with the Holocaust. The Libya case is almost forgotten and silenced. With the exception of a few courageous scholars, the genocide (1929–1934) of Libyan nationals at the hands of Italian Fascists remains virtually unknown to all but the Libyan people. In 1929 over 110,000 Libyans, the total population of rural Eastern Libya was interned in concentration camps. By 1934, only 40,000 were left alive amid widespread executions, suicides, hunger, and diseases. The following silence with respect to colonial Libya has contributed to a persisting notion that Italian Fascism was somehow moderate. My research promises to revise our views of comparative European and Italian history under Fascism. First, it challenges the dominant historiographical view, which is based on the myth that Italian Fascism did not encompass acts of genocide and mass murder, so was therefore a lesser evil than Fascism practiced under the German Nazi regime. Second, it argues against the use of the nation-state and region as a unit of analysis. Instead I argue for the use of comparative analysis that includes the European colonies in a transnational world system, in order to begin to understand how such horrors took place.

This talk is made possible by the Consortium for the Study of the Premodern World, the Department of French and Italian, and the African Studies Initiative.

Please also note the African Studies Initiative's symposium next week, Reframing Mass Violence in Africa: Social Memory & Social Justice. The program is available here.
© 2015 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer. Privacy Statement