Paolo Frasca.jpeg

An important task for academics in the Humanities is asking ourselves which voices are missing from the hi/stories we teach, and why. The Teaching Black Italy course for professors provides an opportunity to begin repairing a number of important shortcomings. The histories and stories of non-white Italians have been, for too long, excluded from the mainstream Italian cultural imaginary and, in many cases, from curricula in Italian Studies. This course allows professors to become familiar with an array of materials on Black Italians and their fundamental contributions to the Italian past and present. The knowledge I acquired in this course generatively disrupts a number of common narratives about Italian history and its relationship with colonialism and white supremacy while celebrating the life, cultural diversity, creations, and entrepreneurship of Black Italians. With the contribution of Fred Kuwornu and Jordan Anderson, I recently included a unit on Black Italian Queer Experiences in my course Sex and Gender in Contemporary Italy (University of Toronto); this offered students a more complete picture of sexual and gender diversity in Italy and allowed them to have powerful discussions on the intersection of gender, sexuality, and race. The real work, of course, happens when these topics are taken beyond the classroom and we all use our knowledge and voices to advocate for social and cultural change. I am extremely grateful for this course and all the teachings I received. Grazie di cuore, Fred!

Dr. Paolo Frascà
Assistant Professor
University of Toronto