The scripts of Alberto Pollera, an Italian officer in Colonial Eritrea
Administration, ethnography and gender
in Ordering Africa
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This chapter focuses on non-academic ethnographies produced during Italian colonial rule in Eritrea. It analyzes early Italian colonial experience and its ethnographic production by focusing on Alberto Pollera, an Italian colonial officer who became a self-made ethnographer, living almost his entire adult life in Eritrea and Ethiopia. The chapter also focuses on Pollera's early ethnographic works produced between 1902 and 1922 concerning aspects of the so-called customary laws. Local justice in the western lowlands and the highlands of Eritrea, domestic and private customs, and the way Pollera defined 'tradition' while acting as colonial civil judge. Pollera's ethnographic knowledge evolved over time and reciprocally influenced his administrative practice. Pollera agreed that Italian women's sexuality needed to be strictly controlled and that they should be forbidden to marry colonial subjects. He also agreed with a partial restriction on unions between Italian men and colonial women.

Ordering Africa

Anthropology, European imperialism, and the politics of knowledge


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