30th May 2018 5:30pm-7:00pm

Edward Street 102

The Militant Antifascism in Rome during the Seventies: constructing oral sources on the narrative of political violence

Jessica Matteo (University of Brighton)

This contribution aims to focus on three methodological issues of oral history. First, the construction of networks. Second, ways of telling and narrated experiences. Lastly, the social differences: young interviewing old, women interviewing men, outsiders interviewing members of a community or culture.

These issues will be addressed starting from the oral source I personally gathered for my master’s thesis, focused on the militant antifascism in Rome on the first half of 1970. The corpus contains thirteen interviews to fifteen former militants of Roman extreme left wing. The interviewees were born between 1943 and 1958 and were all men – unfortunately, I could not gather any female testimonies, because they refused to take part in the project.

At first, the witnesses didn’t want to tell their own political experience. The reasons behind their refusal were different: on the one hand, the ethical and legal implications of the topics of the interview (deaths, fire guns, terrorism, legal events, moral choices); on the other, the interviewer, who was a young woman that did not have their same political experience and is not a political activist. Despite the initial hesitancy, the interviewees got organized: they created their own network, via a Facebook group, where they exchanged information about me and my interviews. It was only after this that they decided to tell me their stories.

Jessica Matteo is an independent researcher interested in understanding the formation of collective memories and their cultural as well as political and social representations. She received her BA and MA in Contemporary History at the Sapienza University of Rome and worked on the memory of the antifascism in Italian radical left-wing groups. Currently, she is a Visiting Research Fellow at Centre for Memory, Narrative and Histories.