08 Oct Colonial settlers, national imagining and imperial myths in post-war Italy (1943-1949)
After the end of the Second World War, ideas of empire survived Italy’s imperial wartime defeat and formulated an allegedly new version of the nation-state: one that was democratic, “progressive”, and (post)imperial. This paper explores the role of Italian colonial settlers in fostering ideas of empire when the empire was already formally gone. Repatriated during and after the war and grouped into loose associations, colonial settlers were at the forefront of this “new” (post)imperial re-imagining. The paper looks at media contributions and petitions written by representatives of settlers’ communities and argues that past ideas of empire, especially the ones that drew upon the question of labour, served as a basis for the reformulation and promotion of a (post)imperial and democratic Italian nation-state, that is an image of a nation that still considered the former colonies as an alleged integral part of (post)imperial Italy.