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From Terra matta to Terramatta; and beyond

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The film Terramatta; Il Novecento italiano di Vincenzo Rabito analfabeta siciliano was inspired by my commitment to the practice of public history. I describe the ways in which the historical source represented by an ego-document, Vincenzo Rabito's autobiography, both encourages research into under-explored aspects of Italy's past and offers an opportunity to stimulate interest in the knowledge of that past among today's young generation. I identify the two main criteria that guided the selection of the film's narrative themes: first, relevance to the history of Italians between the First World War and the 1970s, not excluding its controversial moments; second, appropriate use of the documentary film materials stored mainly in the Archivio Luce. In signalling the development of a new project of digital history (http://www.archiviodegliiblei.it/) initiated alongside the film, I reflect on my own ambivalent sentiment of belonging rekindled by Rabito's autobiography.
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Keywords: Italian identities; Public history; Terra matta; World War 1; autobiography; iconographic sources

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Cliomedia Officina, Turin

Publication date: May 27, 2014

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