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Islands at War: Online seminar, 21 November 2022

Updated: Nov 2, 2022

We are delighted to announce the fourth event in our online global seminar series which takes place on 21 November from 1300 to 1430 UK time featuring Professor Ashley Jackson (King's College London), Dr Manoela Patti (Università di Palermo), and Dr Karine Varley (Strathclyde University).

The event is free but booking is essential. Please book using this link.

Image of bomd damage in Malta during the Second World War
Bomb damage in Malta

'Britain's Island Empire and the Second World War: An Overview'.

Professor Ashley Jackson

Beyond its presence on the world's major continents, the British Empire was an island empire. During the Second World War, the security of islands across the globe was a major preoccupation for the British given their strategic significance in relation to sea and air lines of communication, their potential as bases for the prosecution of military operations, and the interest shown in them by the Axis powers. This talk reviews the character of the island war experience, ranging from the Caribbean and the Atlantic to the Mediterranean, Indian Ocean, and Pacific

Italian Americans and Italians in Sicily during World War II: story and memory of the “enemy-friends”

Dr. Manoela Patti

When the United States entered World War II, they had to deal with the contradiction due to the millions of Italian-Americans who lived in the US. President Roosevelt's wartime rhetoric showed conflict as a war against Mussolini’s regime, not against Italians, and used immigration from Italy as a political and cultural bridge. This paper explores how Italians and Americans throughout both the war and post-war period narrate the experience of the encounter and its paradoxes. We will analyze how and if, war experience is elaborated by protagonists through media, such as novels and films, within collective narration which represents the invasion as a Liberation.

‘A pistol pointing at the heart of Italy’: Corsica during the Second World War

Dr. Karine Varley

This paper explores how Corsica’s political and strategic significance during the Second World War resulted in it being on the front line of competing claims by Vichy France and Fascist Italy. Indeed, Mussolini described the island as ‘a pistol pointing at the heart of Italy’. Subjected to a harsh Italian occupation and suffering greater material privation resulting from ruptures in communication and transport, the experiences of Corsica highlight the limits to which it can be argued that cultural and historical connections served to restrain the conduct of Italian forces in French territory.

If you aren't able to attend live, but have a question you would like the panellists to address, or for further information, please email Dr Richard Hammond (

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