How to contribute

What is this project about?

This project aims at developing a digital map, which captures material traces of Italian colonialism and – this is crucial – contextualizes them historically in order to stimulate a public debate on Italy’s violent and silenced colonial past. By bringing to light the colonial in the public space and explain why its traces are meaningful, abundant and persistent, “Mapping Italian Heritage in Italy” is both a collaborative research project and a public history enterprise. Through the collaboration with other scholars working on colonial heritage, the project intends to grow online and incorporate colonial traces present in other Italian regions and in the former colonies.

Thank you for your readiness to contribute and to add more hidden traces of and histories of Italian colonialism to this project!

What are we looking for?

We are looking for any material traces of Italian colonialism that remain visible today in the public space: (a) streets, squares, and buildings whose names are related to colonial history, (b) statutes, monuments, commemorative plaques which are related to colonial history, (c) institutions that were involved in colonialism and which still exist, and (d) colonial traces in popular and mass culture. If you need some inspiration regarding the question where you could find colonial traces, visit our online map and have a look at some examples.

How can you contribute?

As soon as you have identified some material, you can start writing about it. Try not to be too descriptive but add some analysis. Tell your readers the stories behind street names, institutions, buildings and show how these stories were connected with Italy’s colonial enterprises in the 19th and 20th century. If you can, add also information on related circumstances. Questions such as when a street was renamed, e.g. after the battle of Adwa (1896), by whom and why would be interesting in this regard. Please note that you do not have to provide knowledge about the general history of Italian colonialism. We are taking care of the historical context by delivering general information on the website. If you are struggling finding information or if you are not sure about the significance of some material, please indicate it or get in touch with us: We would be happy to help you!

What is the format?

Write one short text about each material site. The length of an entry should be no more than 2000 characters. The shorter, the better. Each entry should stand for itself. But you can refer to other entries by adding, e.g. “See also Piazza Adwa.” Please write your content in a word file without any formatting. Academic referencing and citation is not required. Nevertheless, what you write must be solid and meet scientific standards. If possible, please categorize the sites you are writing about in regard of our four categorizations (see paragraph “What are we looking for?”).

How should you write?

Please don’t forget that, although a part of our audience might be other scholars, the aim of this project is to make this content accessible to a public with no prior knowledge in Italian colonial history. Therefore, make short sentences, avoid repetitions, and try to be as understandable as possible. Keep the essential and remove extra details of history that are not directly attached to the material trace. Try to adopt a neutral “encyclopedic” writing style. Avoid using first person “I” or “we.” In case you are proposing your own personal interpretation, favour impersonal formula, e.g. “this monument can be seen as…”.

What about language?

Write your entries in English (if you are an Italian native speaker, please contact us by email). Please indicate if the texts you are sending to us require language proof-reading before being published. As far as actual place names in the former colonies, such as Adwa in Ethiopia, are concerned, please use the native or English terms instead of the Italian (e.g. Adua). In this regard, please be aware of the overtone of colonial language and make sure not to reproduce it. For instance, try to avoid wordings such as ‘rebels’ because they reflect colonial power hierarchies.

Should you provide pictures?

Ideally, it would be great if you could send us pictures of the actual material sites alongside the texts of your entries. Therefore, please keep the following guidelines in mind: Firstly, you have to own the rights of the images we would publish online. Therefore, the best is to take the pictures yourself. Secondly, please do not photograph human beings in a way that they are identifiable. Thirdly, try to show that the material trace is an everyday place in the public by using, e.g. wide angles and depict both the material and its surroundings. If you write about special material traces, such as monuments or memorial plaques, close-ups would of course be most welcome.

What about authorship?

Even though this is a collaborative project, you remain the author of your texts and owner of your pictures. At the end of each entry, author and image owner are credited. A short presentations of the authors can be found in the contributors page of the website.

Questions? Ready to submit a contribution?

Please contact us via email:
In case you have too many pictures for one email, you can use Sendspace or WeTransfer

After you have submitted your contribution, the editorial board prepares it with you for publication. While the editorial board takes care of minor changes (typos, formatting, etc.), it contacts you if major revisions is necessary. Furthermore, the editorial board also reserves the right to refuse contributions.