Early 1980s: Phototeca and Racist Visual Practices in Italian Colonialism
Keywords:Visual Culture, Race, Sex, Colonialism, Photography
The exhibition catalogue La menzogna della razza. Documenti e immagini del razzismo e dell’antisemitismo fascista (1994) is an important reference point for theoretical production on race and racism in Italy. The exhibition and its catalogue marked the beginning of studies focusing no longer just on anti-Semitism, but also on colonial racism before and especially during the Fascist period. However, already in the early 1980s some reflections and studies investigated the racist visual practices used for a “construction” of colonised men and women as inferior people and designed as “evidence”, by contrast, of the Italian racial superiority. In particular, we will examine some issues of Phototeca magazine from the early 1980s, partly to highlight its interest in the processes of image production, distribution, circulation, and consumption, as well as in the cultural significance of images and vision, which is in line with the approach that visual culture studies would develop a few years later. However, the materials of the early 1980s will mainly concern pre-fascist and fascist cultural racism, whereas the exhibition catalogue La menzogna della razza (1994) will also examine political racism, highlighting the fundamental shift from cultural to political discrimination.
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