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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:'Madamato' and colonial concubinage in Ethiopia: a comparative perspective
Author:Trento, Giovanna
Periodical:Aethiopica: International Journal of Ethiopian Studies (ISSN 1430-1938)
Geographic terms:Ethiopia
racially mixed persons
colonial period
External link:https://journals.sub.uni-hamburg.de/aethiopica/article/view/419/421
Abstract:Colonial concubinage in Ethiopia during the Italian occupation (1936-1941) has not yet been studied extensivey. This paper explores the peculiarities of the so-called 'madamato' - concubinage between Italian men and African women - which was banned under the fascist government in 1937 but continued to develop. First, it compares madamato practices of the 1930s in Ethiopia with those that were adopted from the late 19th century in Eritrea. In addition, by relying on both written and oral sources, the paper highlights the relevance of local agency, the influence of 'traditional' customs and religion, and the role played by Ethiopian women in colonial concubinage. It also points out some continuity between the colonial and the postcolonial periods in terms of social behaviour, as well as the complex roles played in local societies by Ethiopian-Italians and Eritrean-Italians, including the offspring of relationships based on concubinage. Furthermore, the paper shows that gender relations in the region during Italian rule were affected by the fact that Italian colonialism in the Horn of Africa influenced to some extent the construction of Italian national identity and self-representation. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]