The next event in the CERS PGR Colloquium Series:
Dr Angelica Pesarini
Whiteness, as a racial positioning, signifies among other things privilege, invisibility ‘normality’. Briefly, power. In periods of formal racial segregation, such as the Jim Crow law in the U.S. or Apartheid in South Africa, the practice of ‘passing’ allowed those passing as white to benefit from opportunities denied to darker members of their same racial group (Kenna, 2010).
This paper seeks to re-orient the gaze and to turn the attention towards a less investigated condition. That is when a lack of ‘blackness’, perceived as ‘whiteness’, rather than being a source of privilege, could turn out being a reason of shame and pain. To do so I will analyse the life story of a respondent who took part in my research project focusing on the negotiations of black ‘mixed race’ women in colonial and postcolonial Italy. Born in the ex-Italian colonies in East Africa during the racial law period as the illegitimate child of a white fascist Italian man and a young East African woman, at the age of two this respondent was put into a catholic orphanage by her mother because deemed “too white”. Starting from here, the paper will analyse internal contradictions of crystallised discursive constructions of ‘race’ in colonial time, and how black ‘mixed race’ individuals had to negotiate their everyday life in the interstitial cracks of such discourses.
Save the Date: Please save the date for our next event which will be held on Wednesday 17th June, 1-2pm when Maya Stainback will be speaking about her work. Details to be confirmed.
We look forward to seeing you there.