The aim of this paper is to show how sexuality has been a device able to emphasize racial hierarchies and to empower the colonial administration. The focus is the Gold Coast and the interracial relationships between European men and African women, and the case study is the Italian migration in the early Twentieth century. The paper is based on the voices of the children born from Italian fathers and African mothers, on the colonial archive’s documents and on two autobiographical and ethnological novels, written by Italians who lived in the colony. Firstly, the author discusses how interracial intimacies were explained in terms of economical exchange. Secondly, the author shows that sexual desire and the emphasis put on the exotic sexuality of African women were instrumental to the construction of racial differences and to the cohesion of a white community otherwise divided by class differences.
Keywords: Interracial relationships, Italian migration, sexuality, Gold Coast, racism, colonial studies (Testo inglese rivisto da Laura Fasanaro)