Lavare un etiope. La pelle cangiante di un topos antico
Faloppa, F. (2012) Lavare un etiope. La pelle cangiante di un topos antico. In forma di parola. Edizioni dell'Orso, Alessandria, pp160. (In Press)
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The book is part of a multi-year investigation on the historical construction and representation of ethnic otherness through the use of language, and focuses on the history of the tópos expressed by the proverb Lavare/sbiancare un etiope (‘to wash an Ethiop white’), a tópos which is traceable in different languages across many centuries (and since II c. A.D.), which stays for either ‘to attempt the impossible’ or ‘to do something useless’. The research also tries to shine a light upon the cultural and social contexts in which ‘Ethiopian’ otherness have generated. Its final goal is to find out how the washing-the-Ethiopian tópos (in its verbal and iconographical forms) has become long-lasting, ductile and semantically productive key expression whose heterogeneous use not only document but also produce and fix otherness in time.
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