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New Books in Italian Studies
38 minutes | 14 days ago
Ritchie Robertson, "The Enlightenment: The Pursuit of Happiness, 1680-1790" (Harper, 2021)
The Enlightenment: The Pursuit of Happiness, 1680-1790 (Harper, 2021) is a magisterial history that recasts the Enlightenment as a period not solely consumed with rationale and reason, but rather as a pursuit of practical means to achieve greater human happiness. One of the formative periods of European and world history, the Enlightenment is the fountainhead of modern secular Western values: religious tolerance, freedom of thought, speech and the press, of rationality and evidence-based argument. Yet why, over three hundred years after it began, is the Enlightenment so profoundly misunderstood as controversial, the expression of soulless calculation? The answer may be that, to an extraordinary extent, we have accepted the account of the Enlightenment given by its conservative enemies: that enlightenment necessarily implied hostility to religion or support for an unfettered free market, or that this was “the best of all possible worlds”. Ritchie Robertson goes back into the “long eighteenth century,” from approximately 1680 to 1790, to reveal what this much-debated period was really about. Robertson returns to the era’s original texts to show that above all, the Enlightenment was really about increasing human happiness – in this world rather than the next – by promoting scientific inquiry and reasoned argument.Zach McCulley (@zamccull) is a historian of religion and literary cultures in early modern England and PhD candidate in History at Queen's University Belfast.Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/italian-studies
47 minutes | 14 days ago
Richard Hammond, "Strangling the Axis: The Fight for Control of the Mediterranean during the Second World War" (Cambridge UP, 2020)
In his new book, Strangling the Axis: The Fight for Control of the Mediterranean during the Second World War (Cambridge University Press, 2020) , Dr. Richard Hammond, Lecturer in War Studies at the University of Brunel, offers a major reassessment of the causes of Allied victory in the Second World War in the Mediterranean region. Drawing on a unique range of multinational source material, Dr. Hammond demonstrates how the Allies' ability to gain control of the key routes across the sea and sink large quantities of enemy shipping denied the Axis forces in North Africa crucial supplies and proved vital to securing ultimate victory there. Furthermore, the sheer scale of attrition to Axis shipping outstripped their industrial capacity to compensate, leading to the collapse of the Axis position across key territories maintained by seaborne supply, such as Sardinia, Corsica and the Aegean islands. As such, Dr. Hammond demonstrates how the anti-shipping campaign in the Mediterranean was the fulcrum about which strategy in the theatre pivoted, and the vital enabling factor ultimately leading to Allied victory in the region.In short, Strangling the Axis is a major new treatment of this always interesting subject.Charles Coutinho Ph. D. of the Royal Historical Society, received his doctorate from New York University. His area of specialization is 19th and 20th-century European, American diplomatic and political history. He has written for Chatham House’s International Affairs, the Institute of Historical Research's Reviews in History and the University of Rouen's online periodical Cercles.Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/italian-studies
60 minutes | a month ago
Stefano Marcuzzi, "Britain and Italy in the Era of the First World War: Defending and Forging Empires" (Cambridge UP, 2020).
This is a reassessment of British and Italian grand strategies during the First World War. Dr. Stefano Marcuzzi, Max Weber Fellow at the European University Institute, tries to shed new light on a hitherto overlooked but central aspect of Britain and Italy's war experiences: the uneasy and only partial overlap between Britain's strategy for imperial defense and Italy's ambition for imperial expansion in his book: Britain and Italy in the Era of the First World War: Defending and Forging Empires (Cambridge University Press, 2020). Taking Anglo-Italian bilateral relations as a special lens through which to understand the workings of the Entente in World War I, Dr. Marcuzzi reveals how the ups-and-downs of that relationship influenced and shaped to a limited degree Allied grand strategy. Dr. Marcuzzi considers three main issues – war aims, war strategy and peace-making – and examines how, under the pressure of divergent interests and wartime events, the Anglo-Italian 'traditional friendship' turned increasingly into competition by the end of the war, casting a shadow on Anglo-Italian relations both at the Peace Conference and in the interwar period. While not everyone will be convinced by some of his arguments and propositions (such as the partial rehabilitation of such rightly discredited figures as Salandra and Sonnino), that does not take away from the great effort that Dr. Marcuzzi has made.Charles Coutinho Ph. D. of the Royal Historical Society, received his doctorate from New York University. His area of specialization is 19th and 20th-century European, American diplomatic and political history. He has written for Chatham House’s International Affairs, the Institute of Historical Research's Reviews in History and the University of Rouen's online periodical Cercles.Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/italian-studies
63 minutes | a month ago
John Sellars, "Marcus Aurelius" (Routledge, 2020)
Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations is one of the most popular philosophical works by sales to the public, while in academic philosophy he is considered somewhat of a philosophical lightweight. In Marcus Aurelius (Routledge, 2020), John Sellars argues that this academic perception mistakes the Meditations as a failed work of theoretical argument, when instead it is a series of spiritual training exercises to condition the Roman emperor’s character in accordance with the Stoic doctrines he learned as a bookish boy. Sellars, who is reader in philosophy at Royal Holloway, University of London, sees Marcus Aurelius as using his Meditations as an antidote to corrupting pressures of his powerful position and debilitating suffering in the face of adversity in his personal life and in his military campaigns against Germanic tribes. The book accessibly introduces the main Stoic doctrines that form the background of Marcus Aurelius’s writings, and shows how he reviews the day’s events and where he has gone wrong in his responses to them in their light.Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/italian-studies
74 minutes | a month ago
Ramsey McGlazer, "Old Schools: Modernism, Education, and the Critique of Progress" (Fordham UP, 2020)
Ramsey McGlazer's Old Schools: Modernism, Education, and the Critique of Progress (Fordham University Press, 2020), traces the ways in which a group of modernist cultural practitioners (thinkers, politicians, artists, poets, novelists, and filmmakers) across varied linguistic and cultural contexts ((Italian, English, Irish, and Brazilian) resisted certain notions of education perceived as “progressive”. At the heart of this remarkable study, pulses a nexus of issues that are of interest to anyone teaching anything anywhere: What is education? How does it differ from “instruction”? What is education for? (if anything) What does it mean to ask the question “what is education for”? Who is education for? What are the stakes of that question? Education reforms from the end of the Victorian Era until the mid-20th century sought to surpass the “sterile and narrow” forms of education that insisted on rote learning (memorization, declamation, imitation, and so forth) that did not help students of any age or grade “transform.” Resisting the ideology of “progressive” education, the figures in McGlazer’s fascinating study propose instead a “counter tradition” that sought to offer resistant strategies in “old school” pedagogies focusing on rote means, reproducing (though McGlazer will “queer” that term) ordained content. The practitioners McGlazer focuses on include figures like Walter Pater, author of the influential Studies in the History of the Renaissance, first published in 1873 and whose interest in mechanistic pedagogies anchors the first chapter. Giovanni Pascoli and his focus on grammar follows, then a chapter on “direct instruction” in James Joyce’s Ulysses. McGlazer concludes by focusing on films centering on instruction, like the pedagogy of pain in Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975) and avant-garde Brazilian filmmaker Glauber Rocha’s film Claro (1975). McGlazer’s focus on this nucleus of texts and practitioners from the end of the 19th Century to about the middle of the 20th gives rise to questions about tradition, resistance, and the ideology of education that are evergreen and of interest to educators in a wide array of places and spaces and Old Schools will be of interest to anyone who has taught and anyone who has learned.Ellen Nerenberg is a founding editor of g/s/i-gender/sexuality/Italy and reviews editor of the Journal of Italian Cinema and Media Studies. Recent scholarly essays focus on serial television in Italy, the UK, and North America; masculinities in Italian cinema and media studies; and student filmmakers. Her current book project is La nazione Winx: coltivare la futura consumista/Winx Nation: Grooming the Future Female Consumer, a collaboration with Nicoletta Marini-Maio (forthcoming, Rubbettino Editore, 2020). She is President of the American Association for Italian Studies.Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/italian-studies
66 minutes | a month ago
Roundtable on Medieval Conspiracy Theories
Join us today for a roundtable conversation with three leading medieval scholars about the phenomenon of conspiracy theories in history. Michael T. Bailey, professor of history at Iowa State University is one of the world’s leading scholars on the development of the idea of the Witches’ Sabbath, the verifiable hysterical historical panic about a gathering of diabolical witches joined together to dance with the devil himself in order to spread evil power, a nocturnal festival capable of destroying flora and fauna. Miri Rubin, professor of history at Queen Mary University of London, and translator of the first Blood Libel accusation in England, speaks on her historical forte: the dangerous, long-lived, and utterly spurious assertion that Jews ritually murder a Christian child to celebrate Passover. Emerging in medieval England and flourishing throughout the whole of the premodern era, the Blood Libel was responsible for another form or murderous hysteria.Sean Field, a specialist on religious life in medieval France, speaks about the creation of mystery around the Templars. This is a different kind of conspiracy theory, that develops later around a specific and very real event. King Philip IV of France accused the Templars of a laundry list of spiritual and corporeal crimes; almost all the accused were entirely innocent. Though there was much furor contemporaneously, there was no belief that the Templars were involved in some sort of international secret financial skullduggery. Instead that modern balderdash developed much later and sticks with us. Our conversation covers the appeal of conspiracy theories, how they gain traction, and how they might be handled. Though our discussion is based in history it has strong repercussions for the current political and cultural situation.Jana Byars is the Academic Director of Netherlands: International Perspectives on Sexuality and Gender.Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/italian-studies
54 minutes | 2 months ago
K. Forkert et al, "How Media and Conflicts Make Migrants" (Manchester UP, 2020)
Has 'migrant' become an unshakeable identity for some people? How does this happen and what role does the media play in classifying individuals as 'migrants' rather than people? How Media and Conflicts Make Migrants (Manchester UP, 2020) challenges the idea of the 'migrant', pointing instead to the array of systems and processes that force this identity on individuals, shaping their interactions with the state and with others.Kirsten Folkert, Gargi Bhattacharyya, and Janna Graham speak to Pierre d'Alancaisez about their research carried out in the United Kingdom and Italy and examine how media representations construct global conflicts in a climate of changing media habits, widespread mistrust, and fake news.Pierre d’Alancaisez is a contemprary art curator, cultural strategist, researcher. Sometime scientist, financial services professional.Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/italian-studies
56 minutes | 2 months ago
Laura Eastlake, "Ancient Rome and Victorian Masculinity" (Oxford UP, 2019)
Laura Eastlake’s Ancient Rome and Victorian Masculinity (Oxford University Press, 2019) examines Victorian receptions of ancient Rome from the French Revolution to the First World War, with a specific focus on how those receptions were deployed to create useable models of masculinity. Romans in Victorian literature were at once pagan persecutors, pious statesmen, pleasure-seeking decadents, and heroes of empire. These manifold and often contradictory representations were used as vehicles equally to capture the martial virtue of Wellington and to condemn the deviance and degeneracy of Oscar Wilde.In the works of Thomas Macaulay, Wilkie Collins, Anthony Trollope, H. Rider Haggard, and Rudyard Kipling, among others, Rome emerges as a contested space with an array of possible scripts and signifiers which can be used to frame masculine ideals, or to vilify perceived deviance from those ideals, though with a value and significance often very different to ancient Greek models.Using approaches from literary and cultural studies, reception studies, and gender studies, and ranging across the topics of education, politics, empire, and late Victorian decadence, this volume offers the first comprehensive examination of the importance of ancient Rome as a cultural touchstone for nineteenth-century manliness and Victorian codifications of masculinity.Dr. Laura Eastlake is a senior lecturer in English literature at Edge Hill University in the UK, with degrees in the Classics, classical reception, and Victorian literature, with additional research interests in sensation fiction, Victorian humour and substance-use, and the late-Victorian Gothic. Check out her exhibition at The Atkinson museum: Fatal Attraction: Lilith and Her Sisters.Carrie Lynn Evans is a PhD student at Université Laval in Quebec City.Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm
58 minutes | 2 months ago
Fiona Greenland, "Ruling Culture: Art Police, Tomb Raiders, and the Rise of Cultural Power in Italy" (U of Chicago Press, 2021)
Today we are joined by Fiona Greenland, Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Virginia, to talk about her new book, Ruling Culture: Art Police, Tomb Raiders, and the Rise of Cultural Power in Italy (University of Chicago Press, 2021).Through much of its history, Italy was Europe’s heart of the arts, an artistic playground for foreign elites and powers who bought, sold, and sometimes plundered countless artworks and antiquities. This loss of artifacts looted by other nations once put Italy at an economic and political disadvantage compared with northern European states. Now, more than any other country, Italy asserts control over its cultural heritage through a famously effective art-crime squad that has been the inspiration of novels, movies, and tv shows. In its efforts to bring their cultural artifacts home, Italy has entered into legal battles against some of the world’s major museums, including the Getty, New York’s Metropolitan Museum, and the Louvre. It has turned heritage into patrimony capital—a powerful and controversial convergence of art, money, and politics.In 2006, the then-president of Italy declared his country to be “the world’s greatest cultural power.” With Ruling Culture, Fiona Greenland traces how Italy came to wield such extensive legal authority, global power, and cultural influence—from the nineteenth century unification of Italy and the passage of novel heritage laws, to current battles with the international art market. Today, Italy’s belief in its cultural superiority is evident through interactions between citizens, material culture, and the state—crystallized in the Art Squad, the highly visible military-police art protection unit. Greenland reveals the contemporary actors in this tale, taking a close look at the Art Squad and state archaeologists on one side and unauthorized excavators, thieves, and smugglers on the other. Drawing on years in Italy interviewing key figures and following leads, Greenland presents a multifaceted story of art crime, cultural diplomacy, and struggles between international powers.Jana Byars is the Academic Director of Netherlands: International Perspectives on Sexuality and Gender.Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm
58 minutes | 3 months ago
Paola Bonifazio, "The Photoromance: A Feminist Reading of Popular Culture" (MIT Press, 2020)
Paola Bonifazio’s The Photoromance. A Feminist Reading of Popular Culture (MIT Press, 2020) is the first feminist reading of photoromances that examines both its industry and its fandom, arguing for their relevance as transmedia narratives in a transnational market. The photoromance, a form of graphic storytelling that uses photographs instead of drawings, reached a readership of millions in the 1960s. Despite its popularity, the photoromance was—and still is—widely scorned as a medium, and its largely female audience derided as naïve, pathetic, and uneducated. Bonifazio reframes and problematizes the “natural” association between this genre and the female readers, claiming that the photoromance is relevant to both feminism and media culture. She investigates how female readers powered the Italian photoromance’s industry success and discusses the photoromance as the precursor of the phenomenon of convergence culture—as in the case of Senso, a photoromance inspired by director Luchino Visconti’s Senso.Nicoletta Marini Maio is professor of Italian and Film Studies at Dickinson College.Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm
51 minutes | 3 months ago
Hannah Marcus, "Forbidden Knowledge: Medicine, Science, and Censorship in Early Modern Italy" (U Chicago Press, 2020)
Today we speak to Hannah Marcus, Assistant Professor in the Department of the History of Science at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, about her new monograph, Forbidden Knowledge: Medicine, Science, and Censorship in Early Modern Italy (University of Chicago Press, 2020).Forbidden Knowledge explores the censorship of medical books from their proliferation in print through the prohibitions placed on them during the Counter-Reformation. How and why did books banned in Italy in the sixteenth century end up back on library shelves in the seventeenth? Historian Hannah Marcus uncovers how early modern physicians evaluated the utility of banned books and facilitated their continued circulation in conversation with Catholic authorities.Through extensive archival research, Marcus highlights how talk of scientific utility, once thought to have begun during the Scientific Revolution, in fact began earlier, emerging from ecclesiastical censorship and the desire to continue to use banned medical books. What’s more, this censorship in medicine, which preceded the Copernican debate in astronomy by sixty years, has had a lasting impact on how we talk about new and controversial developments in scientific knowledge. Beautiful illustrations accompany this masterful, timely book about the interplay between efforts at intellectual control and the utility of knowledge. Jana Byars is the Academic Director of Netherlands: International Perspectives on Sexuality and Gender.Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm
63 minutes | 4 months ago
Ali Abdullatif Ahmida, "Genocide in Libya: Shar, a Hidden Colonial History" (Routledge, 2020)
This original research on the forgotten Libyan genocide specifically recovers the hidden history of the fascist Italian concentration camps (1929-1934) through the oral testimonies of Libyan survivors. Ali Abdullatif Ahmida's book Genocide in Libya: Shar, a Hidden Colonial History (Routledge, 2020) links the Libyan genocide through cross-cultural and comparative readings to the colonial roots of the Holocaust and genocide studies.Between 1929 and 1934, thousands of Libyans lost their lives, directly murdered and victim to Italian deportations and internments. They were forcibly removed from their homes, marched across vast tracks of deserts and mountains, and confined behind barbed wire in 16 concentration camps. It is a story that Libyans have recorded in their Arabic oral history and narratives while remaining hidden and unexplored in a systematic fashion, and never in the manner that has allowed us to comprehend and begin to understand the extent of their existence.Based on the survivors' testimonies, which took over ten years of fieldwork and research to document, this new and original history of the genocide is a key resource for readers interested in genocide and Holocaust studies, colonial and postcolonial studies, and African and Middle Eastern studies.Jeff Bachman is Senior Lecturer in Human Rights at American University’s School of International Service in Washington, DC.
58 minutes | 4 months ago
Andrea Moudarres, "The Enemy in Italian Renaissance Epic: Images of Hostility from Dante to Tasso" (U Virginia Press, 2019)
In The Enemy in Italian Renaissance Epic: Images of Hostility from Dante to Tasso (University of Delaware Press, 2019), Andrea Moudarres examines influential works from the literary canon of the Italian Renaissance, arguing that hostility consistently arises from within political or religious entities. In Dante's Divine Comedy, Luigi Pulci's Morgante, Ludovico Ariosto's Orlando Furioso, and Torquato Tasso's Jerusalem Delivered, enmity is portrayed as internal, taking the form of tyranny, betrayal, and civil discord. Moudarres reads these works in the context of historical and political patterns, demonstrating that there was little distinction between public and private spheres in Renaissance Italy and, thus, little differentiation between personal and political enemies. Gerry Milligan is Professor of Italian at the College of Staten Island, where he serves as Director of Honors. He is Professor in Italian and Global Early Modern Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center.
50 minutes | 5 months ago
Ioanna Lordanou, "Venice's Secret Service: Organizing Intelligence in the Renaissance" (Oxford UP, 2019)
Today we are here with Dr. Ioanna Iordanou, a Senior Lecturer in Human Resource Management at Oxford Brookes University and an Honorary Researcher at the Centre for the Study of the Renaissance at Warwick University in Coventry, to talk about her recent book, Venice’s Secret Service: Organizing Intelligence in the Renaissance, out with Oxford University Press in 2019.Venice's Secret Service is the untold and arresting story of the world's earliest centrally-organized state intelligence service. Long before the inception of SIS and the CIA, in the period of the Renaissance, the Republic of Venice had masterminded a remarkable centrally-organized state intelligence organization that played a pivotal role in the defense of the Venetian empire. Housed in the imposing Doge's Palace and under the direction of the Council of Ten, the notorious governmental committee that acted as Venice's spy chiefs, this 'proto-modern' organization served prominent intelligence functions including operations (intelligence and covert action), analysis, cryptography and steganography, cryptanalysis, and even the development of lethal substances. Official informants and amateur spies were shipped across Europe, Anatolia, and Northern Africa, conducting Venice's stealthy intelligence operations. Revealing a plethora of secrets, their keepers, and their seekers, Venice's Secret Service explores the social and managerial processes that enabled their existence and that furnished the foundation for an extraordinary intelligence organization created by one of the early modern world's most cosmopolitan states.Jana Byars is the Academic Director of Netherlands: International Perspectives on Sexuality and Gender.
39 minutes | 5 months ago
Kiran Klaus Patel, "Project Europe: A History" (Cambridge UP, 2020)
Project Europe made waves when it was published in German in 2018 (CH Beck) and was soon translated into English as Project Europe: A History (Cambridge UP, 2020).A clue to its crossover appeal can be found in its original subtitle: "A Critical History." Avoiding the traps of euro-'Whig' or eurosceptical histories, Patel rethinks the development of the European Communities and the European Union from first principles.He concludes that they were just one model among many postwar associations but proved the most evolutionarily fit; that they benefited from peace more than they contributed to it; and that "disintegration and dysfunctionality" were embedded in their design.Having taught at Maastricht University and at the European University Institute in Florence, Kiran Klaus Patel is now professor of European history at Ludwig Maximilian University Munich.*Patel's book recommendation is The Capital by Robert Menasse (MacLehose Press, 2019).Tim Gwynn Jones is an economic and political-risk analyst at Medley Global Advisors.
56 minutes | 5 months ago
Konstantina Zanou, "Transnational Patriotism in the Mediterranean, 1800-1850: Stammering the Nation" (Oxford UP, 2019)
Konstantina Zanou is an Assistant Professor of Italian and Mediterranean Studies at Columbia University. Her captivating book Transnational Patriotism in the Mediterranean, 1800-1850: Stammering the Nation (Oxford University Press, 2018) investigates the long transition from a world of empires to a world of nation-states in the Ionian Adriatic. She narrates the biographies of a group of intellectuals who were born within empires but came of age surrounded by the emerging vocabulary of nationalism. Transnational Patriotism in the Mediterranean, 1800-1850 follows a generation of literati from the Ionian Islands who experienced the collapse of the Republic of Venice and the dissolution of the common cultural and political space of the Adriatic, and who contributed to the creation of Italian and Greek nationalisms. By uncovering this forgotten intellectual universe, the book retrieves a world characterized by multiple cultural, intellectual, and political affiliations that have since been buried under the conventional narrative of the formation of nation-states. Ultimately, Zanou shows how modern nations emerged from an intermingling, rather than a clash, of ideas concerning empire and liberalism, Enlightenment and religion, revolution and conservatism, and East and West.r
54 minutes | 5 months ago
Anthony A. Barrett, "Rome Is Burning: Nero and the Fire That Ended a Dynasty" (Princeton UP, 2020)
According to legend, the Roman emperor Nero set fire to his majestic imperial capital on the night of July 19, AD 64 and fiddled while the city burned. It's a story that has been told for more than two millennia--and it's likely that almost none of it is true. In Rome Is Burning: Nero and the Fire That Ended a Dynasty (Princeton UP, 2020), distinguished Roman historian Anthony Barrett sets the record straight, providing a comprehensive and authoritative account of the Great Fire of Rome, its immediate aftermath, and its damaging longterm consequences for the Roman world. Drawing on remarkable new archaeological discoveries and sifting through all the literary evidence, he tells what is known about what actually happened--and argues that the disaster was a turning point in Roman history, one that ultimately led to the fall of Nero and the end of the dynasty that began with Julius Caesar.Rome Is Burning tells how the fire destroyed much of the city and threw the population into panic. It describes how it also destroyed Nero's golden image and provoked a financial crisis and currency devaluation that made a permanent impact on the Roman economy. Most importantly, the book surveys, and includes many photographs of, recent archaeological evidence that shows visible traces of the fire's destruction. Finally, the book describes the fire's continuing afterlife in literature, opera, ballet, and film.A richly detailed and scrupulously factual narrative of an event that has always been shrouded in myth, Rome Is Burning promises to become the standard account of the Great Fire of Rome for our time.
57 minutes | 5 months ago
Dominique Kirchner Reill, "The Fiume Crisis: Life in the Wake of the Habsburg Empire" (Harvard UP, 2020)
The Fiume Crisis: Life in the Wake of the Habsburg Empire (Harvard UP, 2020) recasts what we know about the birth of fascism, the rise of nationalism, and the fall of empire after World War I by telling the story of the three-year period when the Adriatic city of Fiume (today Rijeka, in Croatia) generated an international crisis.In 1919 the multicultural former Habsburg city was occupied by the paramilitary forces of the flamboyant poet-soldier Gabriele D'Annunzio, who aimed to annex the territory to Italy and became an inspiration to Mussolini. Many local Italians supported the effort, nurturing a standard tale of nationalist fanaticism. However, Dominique Kirchner Reill shows that practical realities, not nationalist ideals, were in the driver's seat. Support for annexation was largely a result of the daily frustrations of life in a "ghost state" set adrift by the fall of the empire. D'Annunzio's ideology and proto-fascist charisma notwithstanding, what the people of Fiume wanted was prosperity, which they associated with the autonomy they had enjoyed under Habsburg sovereignty. In these twilight years between the world that was and the world that would be, many across the former empire sought to restore the familiar forms of governance that once supported them. To the extent that they turned to nation-states, it was not out of zeal for nationalist self-determination but in the hope that these states would restore the benefits of cosmopolitan empire.Against the too-smooth narrative of postwar nationalism, The Fiume Crisis demonstrates the endurance of the imperial imagination and carves out an essential place for history from below.
79 minutes | 6 months ago
S. Burrows and G. Roe, "Digitizing Enlightenment: Digital Humanities and the Transformation of 18th-Century Studies" (Liverpool UP, 2020)
Digitizing Enlightenment: Digital Humanities and the Transformation of 18th-Century Studies (Liverpool UP, 2020) explores how a set of inter-related digital projects are transforming our vision of the Enlightenment. The featured projects are some of the best known, well-funded and longest established research initiatives in the emerging area of ‘digital humanities’, a field that has, particularly since 2010, been attracting a rising tide of interest from professional academics, the media, funding councils, and the general public worldwide. Advocates and practitioners of the digital humanities argue that computational methods can fundamentally transform our ability to answer some of the ‘big questions’ that drive humanities research, allowing us to see patterns and relationships that were hitherto hard to discern, and to pinpoint, visualise, and analyse relevant data in efficient and powerful new ways.In the book’s opening section, leading scholars outline their own projects’ institutional and intellectual histories, the techniques and methodologies they specifically developed, the sometimes-painful lessons learned in the process, future trajectories for their research, and how their findings are revising previous understandings. A second section features chapters from early career scholars working at the intersection of digital methods and Enlightenment studies, an intellectual space largely forged by the projects featured in part one.Highlighting current and future research methods and directions for digital eighteenth-century studies, the book offers a monument to the current state of digital work, an overview of current findings, and a vision statement for future research.Simon Burrows is a Professor of History and Digital Humanities at Western Sydney University, Australia, where he is Leader of the Digital Humanities Research Group.Glenn Roe is Professor of French Literature and Digital Humanities in the Faculty of Letters at Sorbonne University, where he teaches into the UFR of French and Comparative Literature and is attached to the Centre d’étude de la langue et des littératures françaises (CELLF UMR 8599) and the LabEx OBVIL.Dr Alexandra Ortolja-Baird is a visiting researcher at the British Museum and teaches Digital Humanities at University College London.
55 minutes | 6 months ago
Ara H. Merjian, "Against the Avant-Garde: Pier Paolo Pasolini, Contemporary Art, and Neocapitalism" (U Chicago Press, 2020)
On this episode of New Books in History, Jana Byars talks with Ara Marjian, Professor of Italian and affiliate of the Institute of Fine Arts and the Department of Art History at New York University about his newest book Against the Avant-Garde: Pier Paolo Pasolini, Contemporary Art, and Neocapitalism (University of Chicago Press, 2020). Paosolini, a filmmaker who created art in a variety of media, has something approaching a cult following. Merjian explores, “Pasolini’s fraught relationship to the aesthetic experiments of his own age… [and] demonstrates how Pasolini's campaign against neocapitalist culture fueled his hostility to the avant-garde. An atheist indebted to Catholic ritual; a revolutionary communist inimical to the creed of 1968; a homosexual hostile to the project of gay liberation: Pasolini refused the politics of identity in favor of a scandalously paradoxical practice, one vital to any understanding of his legacy. Against the Avant-Garde examines these paradoxes through case studies from the 1960s and 1970s, concluding with a reflection on Pasolini's far-reaching influence on post-1970s art. Merjian not only reconsiders the multifaceted work of Italy's most prominent postwar intellectual, but also the fraught politics of a European neo-avant-garde grappling with a new capitalist hegemony.”Jana Byars is the Academic Director of Netherlands: International Perspectives on Sexuality and Gender.
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