Geography Reference
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scription by his adoptive sister suggests that he is a quintessentially Italian son, who as
she put it, “Wouldn't go to sleep without his mother holding his hand.” 3
the participation and vital contributions that African and Arab populations are making
place for centuries, most notably via Italy's colonial and neocolonial relationships with
Libya, Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Somalia. Italian colonial history has only recently begun
to be critically examined by scholars, 4 and among the Italian public the continuing si-
lence about this history is deafening. The rigid silences that surround colonial atrocit-
ies perpetrated by Italy and other European countries in Africa, the relations of force,
cultural imposition, and racialized exclusion serves not only to reproduce relations of
power but also to remove from view the interwoven histories and identities of people of
African descent, European histories and identities. 5 As Neil Smith and Cindi Katz have
argued, there is a need to challenge the presumed homogeneity of identities. Postcolo-
nial migrants are in Europe because Europe was in Africa, and from their perspective,
and transformation of Turin, its becoming as a place, is intertwined with the embodied
practices and biographies of people of African descent who daily negotiate their sense
of belonging.
The African Diaspora in Postcolonial Europe
There are few studies of African diasporic experiences in relation to place and identity
“to project a nightmarish shadow over the formations of Black cultural and political
identities” (Hesse 1993, 166), demands that critical scholarship on the Black Diaspora
must directly engage with issues of power, race, and racial inequality. In this chapter I
bring geographical perspectives on place into dialogue with critical race scholarship fo-
cused on the African Diaspora. I do this by analyzing place and belonging through the
prism of race and the lived experiences of first generation Africans in Turin, Italy. Ex-
ploring contemporary meanings of place and belonging from the vantage point of black
experiences or what Michael Hanchard (2006) refers to as “Black life worlds” provides
insights into the intersections of place and belonging without neglecting the enduring
legacies and rearticulations of modern racial hierarchies (cf. Malkki 1992; see Gilmore
2004; Puwar 2004). Hanchard defines Black life worlds as Black subjectivities con-
structed through experiential knowledge and practiced in everyday lives, and I use the
ans perceive the world as it has been generated through ongoing experiences in racial-
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