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Race and the Nation in Liberal Italy, 1861-1911


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Table of Contents

Introduction: Complexities of Language: Lexicons of Race, Nation, and Identity The Dawning of the Mezzogiorno: The South in the Construction of Italy Making the South 'Italian': Writing the Post-Risorgimento Southern Question Science and the Codification of Race: Physiognomy and the Politics of Southern Identity The Nature of Conquest: Imperial Endeavor and Race Politics and Permeability: Southern Italian Immigration and the New Imperialism Land of Emigration, Land of Immigration: Toward a New Diasporic Italy

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About the Author

ALIZA S. WONG is Assistant Professor in the Department of History at Texas Tech University, USA. She has received numerous awards including a Fulbright Junior Scholar award and a Fulbright-Hays fellowship.


"A rich feast of Italian ideas about race from 1861 to 1911. Recommended." - CHOICE

"This impressively researched study traces how the achievement of Italian unity forced northern Italians to confront a part of the new country that was profoundly different. Northerners moved from a belief that the South was not just a victim of bad government to one that made southern Italians into classic outsiders, an alien element in the new Italy - an extension of Africa into the peninsula. In a final ironic twist Wong shows how imperialism allowed Italian nationalists a way to reintegrate southerners into the nation as part of the Italian colonial vanguard in North Africa. Wong's research deepens our understanding of liberal Italy as it grappled with the great intractable challenge to national unity that emerged from the Risorgimento." - Alexander de Grand, Emeritus Professor of History, North Carolina State University

"This timely and original book recasts modern Italian history by arguing for the centrality of the 'southern problem' to Italy's nation-building process in such diverse areas as racial science, imperialism, and immigration. A highly readable account of the political utility of the Italian south, Race and the Nation in Liberal Italy is a much-needed contribution to the history of race and difference in modern Italy and a fascinating history of a regional stereotype that still has resonance today in discussions about nation, identity, and belonging." - Carol Helstosky, Associate Professor of History, University of Denver"Aliza Wong has produced a very well written, effectively argued, and rich study on the debate of the Southern Question in post unification Italy and the interconnection between the meridionalist discourse and physiognomy, imperialism, and emigration. This valuable book is relevant to the understanding of present day Italy. The volume is highly recommended to scholars of Italian history and present day Italy as well as to students interested in nationalism and national identity, imperialism, and emigration." - Alexander Grab, author of Napoleon and the Transformation of Europe, Adelaide & Alan Bird Professor of History, University of Maine"It is a revelation to read about how the 'European' North constructed the stereotype of the 'Africa-like' South at the moment of Italian unification and nation-building in the 19th c.., a complicated yet transparent process that is meticulously delineated here and, as the author makes clear, produces language, arguments and images that veer perilously close to a racist ideology. What makes this story even more compelling is how these discourses of difference followed the massive migration of southern Italians to America, where they encountered an even more virulent brand of American racism." - Evelyn Hu-DeHart, Professor of History and Ethnic Studies and Director, Center for the Sudy of Race and Ethnicity in America, Brown University

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