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100 years of Italian Fascism: The Perfect Fascist, Victoria De Grazia in conversation with John Foot

Date:

04/14/2021


100 years of Italian Fascism: The Perfect Fascist, Victoria De Grazia in conversation with John Foot

100 years of Italian Fascism   
A new series of talks organised by ICI London and ASMI   


One hundred years ago, black-shirted squadristi rampaged throughout Italy during the run-up to the 1921 elections, and in preparation for the seizure of central power in 1922. It was the world’s first fascist movement and would have a lasting and ongoing impact in every sphere of political and social life, and in every corner of the world. To mark the importance and continued relevance of the Italian fascist experience, the Italian cultural institute will host a series of conversations and discussions, looking at new research and the contemporary bearing of Italian fascism. Themes to be discussed include violence, anti-fascism, Mussolini as a model for other strongmen, the fascist empire, Mussolini and his image, the March on Rome, Italian history and violence, the creation of martyrs and the biographies of leading fascist hierarchs. These conversations will bring together scholars from across the world in an open conversation format which will be accessible to all and open to debate.
John Foot (University of Bristol) and Philip Cooke (University of Strathclyde) will discuss these themes with distinguished speakers including Rth Ben-Ghiat, Victoria De Grazia, Alessandra Antola Swan, Michael Ebner, Kate Ferris, Tamara Colacicco, Ian Campbell, David Forgacs, Giulia Albanese.


Wednesday 14 April, 6pm
The Perfect Fascist. A Story of Love, Power and Morality in Mussolini's Italy (Harvard University Press, 2020)
Victoria De Grazia in conversation with John Foot

When Attilio Teruzzi, Mussolini’s handsome political enforcer, married a rising young American opera star, his good fortune seemed settled. The wedding was a carefully stage-managed affair, capped with a blessing by Mussolini himself. Yet only three years later, after being promoted to commander of the Black Shirts, Teruzzi renounced his wife. In fascist Italy, a Catholic country with no divorce law, he could only dissolve the marriage by filing for an annulment through the medieval procedures of the Church Court. The proceedings took an ominous turn when Mussolini joined Hitler: Lilliana Teruzzi was Jewish, and fascist Italy would soon introduce its first race laws.

The Perfect Fascist pivots from the intimate story of a tempestuous seduction and inconvenient marriage—brilliantly reconstructed through family letters and court records—to a riveting account of Mussolini’s rise and fall. It invites us to see in the vain, loyal, lecherous, and impetuous Attilio Teruzzi, a decorated military officer, an exemplar of fascism’s New Man. Why did he abruptly discard the woman he had so eagerly courted? And why, when the time came to find another partner, did he choose another Jewish woman as his would-be wife? In Victoria de Grazia’s engrossing account, we see him vacillating between the will of his Duce and the dictates of his heart.

De Grazia’s landmark history captures the seductive appeal of fascism and shows us how, in his moral pieties and intimate betrayals, his violence and opportunism, Teruzzi is a forefather of the illiberal politicians of today.

Victoria De Grazia is Moore Collegiate Professor of History at Columbia University and a founding editor of Radical History Review. Her widely translated, prizewinning books include Irresistible Empire: America’s Advance through Twentieth-Century Europe and How Fascism Ruled Women. She has received the Woodrow Wilson, Jean Monnet, and Guggenheim fellowships and the Rome Prize Fellowship from the American Academy in Rome.

John Foot is Professor of Modern Italian History at the School of Modern Languages, University of Bristol. A renowned historian, Professor Foot spent twenty years in Milan in the 1980s and 1990s and specialises in twentieth century and contemporary Italian history on which he has published extensively. His publications include: Milan Since the Miracle; Calcio. A History of Italian Football; Italy's Divided Memory; Pedalare! Pedalare!; The Man Who Closed the Asylums and, more recently, The Archipelago. Italy since 1945. Professor Foot is also a regular contributor to The Guardian, the Times Literary Supplement and History Today.


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Information

Date: Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Time: At 6:00 pm

Entrance : Free


Location:

Online - Webex

3358