Barbara Ofosu Somuah is a Ph.D. student in Romance Studies at Duke University on the Italian track. She studies the literary and cultural articulations of Black people’s identity formation, placemaking, and erasure in contemporary Italy. She examines how historical legacies and contemporary embodiments of anti-Blackness in Italy are discussed and written about, especially by Black Italian women. Her research interests include Black diaspora, Black feminist studies, memory and colonial history, Black geographies, and the ethics of translation.
Two generative questions guiding Barbara's research are: How has alienation of Black subjects in Italy informed racial identity and Italianità (Italianness), a concept that is firmly rooted, though seldom explicitly acknowledged, in whiteness? How do Black Italian women bear witness to Italy’s colonial past and radically imagine belonging in Italy’s present through their writing and other cultural productions? Barbara was born in Ghana, raised in The Bronx, New York. She received a B.A. in Social Psychology with a minor in Italian from Middlebury College in Vermont. Her writing and translations are in Words Without Borders, Public Books, Lampblack Magazine, Palimpsest Magazine, the edited collection Violent Phenomena (Tilted Axis Press), and elsewhere.