Though Italy left East Africa in the early 1940´s, Somalia, Eritrea and Ethiopia still bear the evidence of its presence in complicated and layered ways. Italy, too, has been changed by its years as a colonial and occupying force in East Africa. But what do those from one country actually know about the other? How can history help to fill the gaps? At what point can only creativity and imagination tell the story of what really took place in colonial East Africa?
Complicated Ties: Stories and Histories of Italy and East Africa brings together historians and creative writers to discuss, debate and shed new light on Italian colonialism and its legacies. Three panels concentrating on Somalia, Eritrea and Ethiopia pair a noted historian with a writer from that particular country. The final panel will be a round table discussion among all three groups and will encourage active participation from the audience.
The symposium will be one of the few occasions that experts in italian colonial history share a platform with a new generation of writers from those former colonies. These writers will give voice to what it has meant to grow up in the shadows of Italy´s quest for its "place in the sun".
9:00amWelcome Ruth Ben-Ghiat, Departments of History and Italian Studies, New York University Maaza Mengiste,Creative Writing and Expository Writing Programs, New York University
9:30-11:00Ethiopia Introduction: Alessandro Triulzi, Department of History, University of Naples “L’Orientale” Writer: Gabriella Ghermandi, Author of Regina di Fiori e di Perle (2007)
11:30-1:00pmEritrea Introduction: Alessandro Triulzi, Department of History, University of Naples “L’Orientale” Writer: Sulaiman Addonia, Author of The Consequences of Love (2009)
2:30-4:00 Somalia Introduction: Matteo Guglielmo, African Studies, University of Naples “L’Orientale” Writer:Igiabe Scego, Author of La mia casa è dove sono (2010)