Global Ecologies: “The Fiction of Colorblind Italy”

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small children standing around an adult's legs from the cover of 12 Million Black Voices by Richard Wright

“The Fiction of Colorblind Italy and Orio Vergani’s Io, povero negro (1928)”

A lecture by Professor Stephanie Malia Hom (Assistant Professor of Transnational Italian Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara). Thursday, March 3 at 5:00pm via Zoom.

This event is the first installment of the GLOBAL ECOLOGIES event series, curated by Laura Di Bianco (Assistant Professor of Italian Studies) and Marina Bedran (Assistant Professor of Lusophone Studies).

This talk takes aim at the myth that il razzismo non esiste (racism does not exist) in Italy by exposing the fictions that underpin antiblack racism, fictions that give life to the deceit that Italy is colorblind. Professor Hom traces this belief back to a set of novels produced about colonialism, written in Italian for an Italian audience, in the era during and immediately after Italy’s direct colonial rule. In this talk, she focuses her attention on the work of Orio Vergani. Hom argues it contributes to a rhetoric of race defined by absence, blockage, and deflection, which, in turn, sets the limit conditions for both the denial of racism and the naturalization of race-based violence in Italy today. 

Contact Marta Cerreti ( or Brad Harmon ( for the link.

Stephanie malia hom

Stephanie Malia Hom is Assistant Professor of Transnational Italian Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She writes and lectures on modern Italy and the Mediterranean, mobility studies, colonialism and imperialism, migration and detention, and tourism history and practice. She is the author of Empire’s Mobius Strip: Historical Echoes in Italy’s Crisis of Migration and Detention (Cornell, 2019) and The Beautiful Country: Tourism and the Impossible State of Destination Italy (Toronto, 2015). Her essays and articles have been published in wide range of venues, including the leading journals in the fields of Italian studies, tourism history, urban studies, and folklore. She has also worked as a journalist in the U.S. and Europe.