From the European South

a transdisciplinary journal of postcolonial humanities

issue 11 | special focus | fall 2022


Guest editors: Gianpaolo Chiriacò, Alessandra Ferlito, Emilio Tamburini

The aim of this FES Special focus (Fall 2022) is to investigate the concept of sonic memory as it relates to colonialism, with a particular interest in – but not limited to – the history of Italian colonialism.

The concept of sonic memory, on the one hand, pertains to the history of colonial projects and to the use of music and sounds – through several media such as radio, records, movies, etc. – to construct a collective definition of the Other as a predestined victim of a civilizing force. On the other hand, it relates to the resonance of this memory – through sounds and media – in the shaping of modern times and cultures, both in terms of the persistence of a racialization that is still carried through music and in terms of sonic memory as a ‘trigger’ used, consciously or otherwise, by contemporary sound artists and producers.

The case of Italian colonialism is of particular interest, as the preparation of the Ethiopian occupation was accompanied by an intense use of media through which a vast repertoire of songs became ubiquitous during the 1930s, only to disappear from the collective soundscape a few years later.

Investigations into sonic memory, therefore, do not only concern historical analyses of those years, but also raise questions related to the presence of those sounds – through melodies, arrangements, textual references – within the construction of a contemporary discourse around African countries and the global South, migration, race relations, etc.

The issue will explore questions such as: how did the collective removal of colonial songs take place? How does music related to colonial years reverberate into the so-called postcolonial (or neocolonial) times? How can we use songs and sounds from the time of European colonialism to address issues related to its legacy?

The sonic memory of colonialism and its legacy will be analyzed through several points of view: sound studies, anthropology of music, cultural studies, textual analysis, art histories, sensory history, and many others. Approaches that employ interdisciplinary methodologies are also welcome.

Researchers, artists, musicians, and producers are invited to send articles as well as artistic works. The audiovisual series “Listening to Italian Colonialism”, that the editors developed during the lockdown in spring 2021 is just an example of the possible ways to respond to this call.

Guest editors: Gianpaolo Chiriacò, Alessandra Ferlito, Emilio Tamburini

Please send your proposals for articles, reviews, interviews or creative interventions to Gianpaolo Chiriacò ( and Elisa Bordin (

Deadline for article submission: March 31th, 2022
Acceptance of submitted article: June 30th, 2022

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