Malta Civiltà Mediterranea. Italian Colonialist Discourse



On 11 and 12 January 2012 the Mediterranean Institute hosted a delegation from Pusan University for Foreign Studies, South Korea. A memorandum of understanding was signed during the visit as a sign of collaboration being undertaken by both institutions.

A programme of events entitled “Homogeneous and Heterogeneous Cultures in the Mediterranean World” was drawn up in honour of this initiative and was open to the University community. It was coordinated by Dr Jean-Paul Baldacchino, lecturer in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Malta.


malta-origini-della-civilta-mediterraneaMy paper at the conference was about “Malta Civiltà Mediterranea. Italian Colonialist Discourse”.

Dr Adrian Grima’s presentation, inspired by Luigi Maria Ugolini book on Malta as the origin of so-called Mediterranean civilisations, was entitled “Malta Civiltà Mediterranea. Italian Colonialist Discourse” and analysed how writers like Dun Karm and Juan Mamo reacted to this Fascist political and cultural discourse before World War II. Ugolini’s book was published in 1935.

Incidentally, this book by Luigi Maria Ugolini (1895-1936), who visited Malta on several occasions between 1924 and 1935 to study the megalithic monuments of the archipelago, Ugolini’s book has now been published once again, with an English translation by Louis Scerri and a general introduction by Dr. Nicholas C. Vella and Dr Andrea Pessina, who have also edited the book and other books that will follow based on Ugolini’s work, all published by Midsea Books. “The Italian scholar,” write the editors, “wanted to prove in an unequivocal manner the neolithic date of the megalithic temples of Malta and to assert the important role that Malta had in giving birth to Mediterranean civilization (‘ex Medio lux’).”

Dr Grima also refers to Fascist Mediterraneanist discourse in his book in Maltese on Dun Karm’s poem, “Lil Malta. Tal-Lum u ta’ Għada” published by the Department of Maltese of the University of Malta (Minn Kull Xorta ta’ Qżież. Dun Karm u l-Konfini tal-Identità fil-Mument tal-Metafora, 2011).



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