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Book Presentation | Italy and its colonies: a century-long amnesia

Filippi-BookPresentation – 1

The Istituto Italiano di Cultura Toronto is pleased to present the book  But we Built Roads for Them” by writer and historian Francesco Filippi.

The book was originally published in Italy with the title “Noi però gli abbiamo fatto le strade” and it is a powerful analysis of Italy’s colonial past. Italy has undoubtably been a colonial power for almost a century: from 1869 until 1960 the country occupied extended territories on the African continent. Yet today there is almost no memory of this past in Italy; Why?  The Author will try to answer this question in discussion with Prof. Angelica Pesarini.


But We Built Roads for Them

The Amnesia that Buries Italy’s Colonial Past

March 21, 2024 | 6:30 pm EST

Istituto Italiano di Cultura

496 Huron Street | Toronto

Free event – Registration required

To register on Eventbrite click here


Francesco Filippi (1981) is an historian, he works for the “Fondazione Museo Storico del Trentino”, focusing on collective and public memory with particular reference to the Italian and European twentieth century. Co-founder of association “Deina”, which deals with the planning and organization of memory trips and training courses throughout Europe. Teacher of communication and historical dissemination at Feltrinelli Education. He writes, among others, for Repubblica, Domani, L’Essenziale, Micromega.

Most recent publications: Guida semiseria per aspiranti storici social, Bollati Boringhieri 2022, Noi però gli abbiamo fatto le strade. Le colonie italiane tra bugie, razzismi e amnesie, Bollati Boringhieri 2021 (But we built roads for them, Baraka Books 2024), Prima gli italiani! (sì, ma quali?), Laterza 2021, Ma perché siamo ancora fascisti? Un conto rimasto aperto, Bollati Boringhieri 2020, Mussolini ha fatto anche cose buone. Le idiozie che continuano a circolare sul fascismo, Bollati Boringhieri 2019 (Mussolini also did a lot of good, the spread of historical amnesia, Baraka Books 2021).


Angelica Pesarini is an Assistant Professor in Race and Cultural Studies/Race and Diaspora and Italian Studies at the University of Toronto. Her work seeks to expand the field of Black Italia focusing on dynamics of race, gender, identity, and citizenship. She is interested in the racialization of the political discourse on immigration, and she is among the co-founders of The Black Mediterranean Collective, which published in 2021 The Black Mediterranean: Bodies, Borders, and Citizenship. She wrote several essays, peer-reviewed articles, book chapters and delivered numerous talks and public lectures internationally. Professor Pesarini is currently writing a book on the lived experience of Black “mixed race” Italian women during the (post)colonial fascist period in East Africa, and the use of oral sources as counter-narratives. As a scholar- activist, she is engaged in the Italian anti-racist movement, and she is investigating the impacts of BLM in Italy.