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The mirror and the map: Italian women writing the colonial space

Polezzi, Loredana 2006. The mirror and the map: Italian women writing the colonial space. Italian Studies 61 (2) , pp. 191-205. 10.1179/007516306x142933

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The Italian presence on the African continent has a complex history, ranging from exploration to colonial and post-colonial settlement. Though the history of this presence is marked by the predominance of a male discourse of travel and conquest, Italian women have also produced a significant body of work detailing a range of attitudes towards, and modes of appropriation of, the 'African experience'. Of particular interest is the way in which women's testimonies articulate a double vision of 'Africa': more traditional images of the continent's open spaces are coupled with descriptions of private and circumscribed dimensions, in which women situate both a re-assessment of the self and an attempt to establish communication with 'African' interlocutors. Using two examples taken from different phases of the colonial period, the article examines how private and public spaces were used by Italian women to establish their own position within Africa with respect to both 'African' and 'colonial' populations, and to present the colonies as highly 'transformative' and 'performative' spaces.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Modern Languages
Publisher: Maney
ISSN: 0075-1634
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 08:27

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