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The "ventennio nero" refers (or black twenty years; 1922-1943) refers to the period of Italy's Fascist rule under strongman Benito Mussolini, Fascism's founder. Italian Fascism (first a movement, then a political party, and finally a totalitarian government) continues to fascinate historians, political theorists, and cultural historians alike; it is the foundational period against which all other "fascisms" are measured. This class, taught in English, explores the history, politics, and cultural underpinnings of what Susan Sontag called "fascinating Fascism"; its construction of masculinity and the idealized "Fascist mother"; its invention of a Fascist Mediterranean "race" to rival the Aryan race of Nazi Germany; its pursuit of an Empire that would be a worthy heir to Rome; and finally, the robust resistance culture that rose up to counter it. This course is offered in the fall 2021 term. "Fascism" is easily used, but much less easily understood, especially in its origins in early 20th century Italy. This course looks at Fascism's origins, development, contradictions, and opposition. It is perfect for students interested in the cultural roots of political movements, in modern Italian history and culture, in the history of totalitarianism, and in the interaction between culture and popular consensus.  The Historical Analysis General Education Requirement is pending; once approved, the requirement will be applied immediately to students taking the course in fall 2021 semester.
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