Black Women at War: The Shadow King (2019), Cronache dalla polvere (2019), and Intersectional Violence in Contemporary Italy

Mara Mattoscio's picture


Dear All,


For anyone who is interested in Black women's anti-colonial struggles and/or Black women's role in the anti-fascist/anti-colonial resistance in the Ethiopian-Italian wars (I and II), you might be interested in this article I just published in the Journal of Postcolonial Writing special issue on "Intersectional Italy" (guest edited by Caterina Romeo and Giulia Fabbri): 

My article offers a comparative analysis of Maaza Mengiste’s award-winning The Shadow King (2019) and Zoya Barontini’s Italian-language collective mosaic novel Cronache dalla polvere (Chronicles from the dust) (2019), in order to trace the roots of contemporary Italy’s intersectional violence back to the country’s colonial history. It argues that, while the Ethiopian American Mengiste redresses the masculine language of war by dramatizing the historical experience of Ethiopian female partisans, the Italian authors of Cronache dalla polvere deliberately assign to Ethiopian female characters the task of recording, remembering, and retelling the atrocities committed by the Italian fascists against the local population. Drawing on interdisciplinary explorations of the intersections among race, gender, and class in contemporary Italy by Heather Merrill and Gaia Giuliani, and in Italian postcolonial literature by Caterina Romeo, the article seeks to demonstrate how the two novels attempt to reorient the Italian literary archive in ways that illuminate the colonial matrix of the country’s persistent culture of intersectional violence.


You can find a free e-print here: