Call for Submission WWI Somalia

Zaccaria Massimo's picture

The Editors of a forthcoming volume on WWI in the Italian Colonies are seeking contributors for chapters about Somalia during the First World War.


Call for Chapters

“WWI in the Italian colonies”

A volume to be edited by Uoldelul Chelati Dirar, Alessandro Volterra and Massimo Zaccaria

We are looking forward to contributors dealing with Somalia's history, culture and economy, during the colonial time, interested in writing a chapter dealing with the Somali experience of WWI. This volume seeks to investigate the impact that WWI had on Italian colonies, perturbing existing balance of power and redesigning their social, economic and political landscapes. The editors deem that it is high time that both the historiography dealing with WWI in Africa and the one dealing with Italian colonialism fill this gap, shedding new light on the complex set of changes, transformation, and conflicts that the Great War triggered within the Italian colonial space and its surroundings. Moreover, a deeper understanding of the impact of WWI on the Italian colonies could be crucial in opening new lines of research on similar colonial contexts in Colonial Africa which, until now, have been neglected because of their alleged marginality and absence of direct warfare. Therefore, this volume aims at enlarging the existing knowledge on the impact that WWI had on Libya, Eritrea Ethiopia, Somalia, and the Dodecanese.

This volume intends also to question existing chronologies on WWI. As a result of a long and vibrant debate, it is now taken for granted that military chronologies are just one - and probably not even the most effective - of the possible periodizations of WWI. For the geographic area taken into account by this volume, this issue is even more relevant. In fact, on one side some scholars suggest that the Libyan war of 1911-1912 could be taken as the real beginning for the conflict. At the same time other scholars emphasise the fact that some of the consequences of the War stretched over a longer period of time and mention among their examples the Egyptian revolution of 1919 and the subsequent independence of 1922, the independentist movements in the Sudan in the 20s, the political change in the Hejaz, Yemen and the Arab peninsula at large, as well as the British decision to hand over the Jubaland to Italy in 1924. Though some of these suggestions can be criticized, it remains sure that the transition from peace to war and from war to peace in the region lasted well beyond the conventional framework 1914-1918 and that the ensuing political turmoil that engulfed North East Africa redraw the political map of the area. Therefore, the editors as a chronological span for this volume suggest the period stretching from 1911 to 1924.

Within this geographical and chronological framework, this volume seeks to suggest a new more global approach which, based on original research, should analyze the Italian colonial space as a global one. The main ambition is to draw fresh lines of research focusing on interrelation and interdependence rather than reproducing the conventional approach to Italian colonialism which tends to focus on each colony separately, thus missing the larger picture. Therefore, the editors encourage contributors to focus on a thematic rather than a geographic approach, though we are all fully aware that specificities of research specialization cannot be ignored. All contributors are invited to try as much as possible to emphasize the level of interaction between their main area of research and the other Italian colonies or their immediate surroundings. We strongly believe that this effort would contribute tremendously in widening our understanding of how WWI reshaped the Italian colonial space in its internal articulations, in the relationship between colonizers and colonized and also in its very conceptualization of colonial rule.

Finally, another major feature of the framework which we envision for this volume is special attention on the agency both of the colonial subjects as well as the settler vis à vis the colonial administration.  In fact, it is important to shed light on how different local powers - as well as individuals - negotiated their involvement in the conflict, providing, in this process, ample evidence of their autonomy of judgment and of their independence in taking action. Tensions ignited by WWI interacted with a complex pre-existing balance of power, which, in many cases, influenced the positioning and choices of the local actors. For this reason, we want to pay special attention to the agency of local elites and populations involved directly or indirectly in the conflict.

Therefore, we would warmly welcome papers dealing with the following themes in a Somali context:

- How colonized societies understood WW1 and how they exploited the conflict among European powers.

- Impact of the War on Italian colonial policies.

- Personal experiences of the military and civilian personnel involved in the conflict.

- Gendered perceptions and experiences of the War.

- Circulation and control of information on the war, propaganda, and counter-propaganda in the Italian colonies.

- Recovery of sources and memories of the war.

- Representations of the war (literature, music, arts, oral traditions).

- The long post-war aftermath.

Submission guidelines

July 25, 2019: contributors should send an extended abstract (maximum length: 4000 characters space included) to the following email address:

The abstract should include an accurate description of the methodology, sources, and include bibliographical details.

August 12, 2019: contributors will receive communication about their abstracts’ approval.

January 30, 2020: submission of the final paper (maximum length: 50.000 characters space included).

The editors

Uoldelul Chelati Dirar, University of Macerata

Alessandro Volterra, University of Roma Tre

Massimo Zaccaria, University of Pavia


Categories: CFP
Keywords: somalia, WWI, CFP