9 September | 5.30 pm
La Pelanda - Mattatoio | Tettoia



in Italian

Annalisa Sacchi + Bridget Ohabuche + Adil Mauro

Saidiya Hartman: parentele oceaniche e fabulazione critica

One of the stories that Saidiya Hartman reconstructs in Lose Your Mother concerns a girl tortured to death on a British slave ship, probably because she refused to dance naked for the captain. Among the chronicles that constitute Hartman’s sources, one in particular fleetingly mentions another girl, apparently called Venus, present on the same ship. After publishing her book, Hartman began being haunted by thoughts of this girl, and by her frustration at not finding any more information that would return attention to this story. Thus, she began developing the idea of a critical fabulation in which she worked on re-mediating the submerged stories and flooded archives surrounding this era of trafficking, using the medium of fiction to imagine not only what had been, but also what could be, intertwining threads of oceanic kinships, connecting shreds of traces and disrupting the normativity of the “historical reconstruction”.
Hartman declares that, where the official archives retain minimal and incomplete memories of diasporic lives, critical intervention makes it not only possible to reconstruct deeply plausible fictions, ones based on extreme proximity to a work of microhistory, but completely authorises any intervention with fictional narratives in order to introduce hidden or deleted stories to the present.
Thus, these works of reconstructing the past welcome uncertainties and fictions, recognising the violence of such archives as places where pure power can be registered. However, it is also an extraordinarily elastic form thanks to the silences, the empty areas, the flooded parts. In this perspective, the archive itself becomes a performative space, made up of loss and enactment as well as presence. The writing of the past allows a remediation of violence in which beauty is used as both “practice and method”, in opposition to the canon which imposes it as a discourse and set of values strongly structured by a colonial, patriarchal and racist history (Annalisa Sacchi) .

The starting point of the meeting will be the book by Saidiya Hartman, Lose Your Mother. A Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Route, Italian translation by V. Gennari, published by Tamu, 2021.


Anticipation of the Night is the discursive space that lights up every day in the late afternoon. For the full programme click here.

Annalisa Sacchi is full professor and director of the degree program in Theatre and Performing Arts at the IUAV University of Venice. She is principal investigator of the ERC Starting Grant project INCOMMON: In Praise of Community: Shared Creativity in the Arts and Politics in Italy (1959–1979). She has carried out research activities at Queen Mary University, the Warburg Institute and University College in London; New York University (Tisch Department of the Arts) and Harvard University (Lauro de Bosis fellowship), where she was a professor from 2012 to 2014. Among her books are In Fiamme: La performance nello spazio delle lotte (1967- 1979) (edited by Ilenia Caleo and Piersandra Di Matteo, 2021), La performance della memoria (with F. Bortoletti, 2018), Il posto del re. Estetiche del teatro di regia nel modernismo e nel contemporaneo (2012) and Itinera. Trajectoires de la forme Tragedia Endogonidia (with E. Pitozzi, 2008). Since 2018 she has been appointed Italian National Expert for the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Program as part of the Horizon Europe framework.

Kwanza Musi Dos Santos is an Italian-Brazilian activist specialised in Diversity Management, carrying out consultancy and training at companies and organisations, with a focus on the issues of anti-racism, black feminism, the environment and intersectionality. She is co-founder and current President of the QuestaèRoma association, made up of young Italians of foreign origin, which since 2013 has been promoting debates and training activities with the aim of marginalising all forms of discrimination through culture. On behalf of the association, she is the promoter of the campaign On the right side of history (2020) born from a group of organisations and individual activists who urge reform of the current law on Italian citizenship. Since 2021 she has been a member of the Advisory Board of Union of Justice, composed of young European professionals of foreign origin to highlight ethnic-racial issues in the debate for environmental justice. Since 2017 she is among the teachers of the Black Europe Summer School in Amsterdam, with an analysis module on the theme of Blackness in Italy, which she also occasionally presents in the United States. She recently starred in the documentary Black Lives Matter in Italy produced by VICE NEWS.

Adil Mauro is a professional journalist born in Rome to an Italian father and a Somali mother. After graduating in DAMS (specialising in cinema, television and new media) at the Roma Tre University, he began collaborating with various online newspapers, mainly dealing with culture and politics.
In recent years he has worked as a freelancer for L’ Espresso, Internazionale, Rolling Stone Italia, Valigia Blu, L’Essenziale, VICE Italia and Jacobin Italia.
Since February 2020 his podcast, La stanza di Adil, has been a virtual space where he meets people and shares stories related to current events and the world of culture.

in partnership with QuestaèRoma