Forum. Towards a Decolonial History of Italian Migration to Australia

Francesco Ricatti, Paola Balla, Matteo Dutto, John Kinder, Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli, Joseph Pugliese, Federica Verdina

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This special Forum explores some key aspects on Italian migrants’ relationships with First Nations people in Australia, including their complicity in settler colonialism and their solidarity with Indigenous struggles. Taking into consideration the Australian context, this forum aims to instigate an intellectual dialogue around the need to decolonise Italian migration history worldwide. A decolonising approach requires not just the recognition that millions of Italians have migrated to settler colonial societies, but also a theoretical and methodological reflection on how migration history needs to be informed by Indigenous epistemologies. The forum is divided in six parts. After a methodological introduction by Francesco Ricatti, the artist Paola Balla reflects on her life and work as a Wemba-Wemba and Gunditjmara woman and artist, whose father and paternal family came to Australia from Calabria. Her contribution emphasises the need to relearn the history of settler colonial nations from the perspective of Indigenous women. Federica Verdina and John Kinder then explore from a linguistic perspective the anthropological discourse in the Italian language concerning Aboriginal people in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. The next contribution, from Matteo Dutto, focuses on the visual and cinematic representation of the encounters between Indigenous and Italian migrants in Australia. Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli then reflects on the complex methodologies that are required when studying personal relationships between Italian migrants and Indigenous people. The forum is concluded by Joseph Pugliese’s personal reflections on his scholarly and activist involvement in decolonial practices within the Australian context.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-15
Number of pages8
JournalAltreItalie: international journal of studies on the peoples of Italian origin in the world
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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