- Fellowship year:2021-2022
- University: Columbia University
- Dissertation Topic/Category: International and Global
- Dissertation Title: Making the Empire Work: Italian Enterprises, Labor, and Everyday Life in Fascist- Occupied Ethiopia, 1934-1943
Making the Empire Work: Italian Enterprises, Labor, and Everyday Life in Fascist- Occupied Ethiopia, 1934-1943 explores the Italian migrants who attempted to carve out their own destinies within the fascist imperial project by studying four key colonizing enterprises: mining, logistics, banking, and farming. Italian migrants were privileged settlers, who attempted to seize the apparent opportunities and promised economic and racial privileges of the Italian fascist empire. But, they were also laborers, investors of savings-capital, and small
entrepreneurs, and thus subject to the discipline of the fascist state and private industry. Comparing four enterprises in diverse regions and industries, Making the Empire Work examines how Italian migrants adapted their colonial endeavors and negotiated with local circumstances, indigenous peoples, and fascist authorities to organize their labor, finances, and social worlds, or in essence, to adapt and enacted fascist colonialism.
Italy’s rush to Africa remains an under-studied chapter in the history of settler colonialism at its most advanced, fateful stage: supercharged with ideology, state planning, and large capital flows, yet still dependent on the limited cooperation and consent local experts, Italian migrants, and indigenous people. Italy’s aggressive imperial initiatives in Ethiopia were studied and even copied, notably by Hirohito’s Japan and Nazi Germany. But historians have largely focused on the plans, ideology, and propaganda, rather than examining the capital, labor, and social worlds of the people who actively built these new empires. To do this, my dissertation draws on Italian, Ethiopian, British, and Swiss archives to reconstruct and compare the labor, capital, and lives of Italians in four colonizing enterprises in diverse industries and regions.