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Accepted Paper:

"From Ceasar to Mussolini!": Expressions of the fascist empire in Colonial Exhibition of Naples in 1940  
Joao Pedro Rangel Gomes da Silva (University of California Berkeley)

Paper short abstract:

This work analyses the relations between anthropology, art, and racism through the images of the Naples Colonial Exhibition in 1940. It was a moment of constitution and dissemination of racism, revealing the concept materialization of race and the action of anthropology in this historical process.

Paper long abstract:

Constructions about the other take part of the history of anthropology since its beginning and were heavily present on universal and colonial exhibitions, which was an occidental exhibition tradition on the XIX and XX centuries. Marked by the empires that defined themselves through these constructions, these exhibitions constitute a moment where the colonial object's construction coincides with the colonizer subject's construction. The effort of this work is to describe and analyze a hierarchized and exoticizing otherness production that uses artistic and architectonic European traditions to materialize the concept of race, to justify and legitimate the domination and violence on lands and people under colonial rule.

Addressing the Naples Colonial Exhibition of 1940, I explored this exhibition tradition in a precise historical moment of Italy history, that allows comprehending the Italian colonialism, its survivals with the images, and relations with contemporary racism. This exhibition was only possible because of the extensive network of anthropologists, researchers, and professionals with diverse backgrounds that contributed to the production of knowledge about the African populations in the Italian colonies. This network acted in relation to fascism, where together they produced a racist theoretical basis that justified the Italian colonial rule and attested to your supposed superiority. In this way, the Naples Colonial Exhibition reveals the imbrication between different fields of knowledge that served to colonialism as a way to legitimate violence and colonial rule. Anthropology has an important role in this process, contributing to the production of a hierarchized otherness fixed in time.

Panel P155b
Race, Anthropology and (De)coloniality [History of Anthropology Network]
  Session 1 Wednesday 27 July, 2022, -