Italy as a Nation State, from the Risorgimento to World War II

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Joplin, MO 64801-1595
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"We have made Italy. Now we must make Italians," famously wrote Italian patriot Massimo d'Azeglio after national independence was extended to the entire peninsula in 1861. By the mid-19th century, the Italian peninsula, mostly under foreign rule, featured about a dozen states. The term "Risorgimento" (or "resurgence") describes the cultural and political drive that inspired Italian patriots to bring Italy back, as a unified nation, to its former position of prominence in Europe.

This lecture looks at the idealist tradition that made Italy a model not only for modern nationalism but also for liberal internationalism. It then analyzes the Italian rulers' Machiavellian style of diplomacy, which, in contrast to the idealist tradition, helped the country attain its independence. The unification, accomplished through a top-down approach more than through popular uprising, limited the country's prospects for genuine democratic expression. From the late19th century, Italy diverted popular discontent toward imperialist ventures. Dr. Alessandro Brogi will argue that it was not the excess of democracy (including left-wing radicalism), but rather the self-imposed limits of that democracy that allowed the rise of Fascism in the early 20th century. The Italian Fascist regime tried to build ideological consensus by erasing markers of regional difference and revamping terms for an imaginary national identity. Its failure in World War II proved the limits of that endeavor, but it also opened the path for the democracy of the modern Italian republic.

Alessandro Brogi received two Ph.D.s (from Ohio University in 1998 and from the University of Florence in 1993), and is now a professor of history at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. His principal area of research is U.S. strategic and cultural relations with Western Europe during the Cold War. Brogi authored three books and several articles in prime journals: his first book, titled L'Italia e l'egemonia americana nel Mediterraneo (Italy and American Hegemony in the Mediterranean)was finalist for the Acqui Storia national award (Italy's most renowned academic prize), and a finalist for the OAH foreign book prize. His second book, titled A Question of Self-Esteem: The United States and the Cold War Choices in France and Italy, 1944-1958, illustrates how considerations of rank or prestige informed many of France's and Italy's international actions as well as the United States' handling of the two allies. Dr. Brogi's latest book, analyzing Communist power in France and Italy and U.S. reactions to it, is titled Confronting America: The Cold War between the United States and the Communists in France and Italy. The book won the Charles Smith award by the Southern Historical Association.

Dr. Brogi was at Yale as a lecturer and John Olin Fellow in international security studies in 1999-2002. At the University of Arkansas since 2002, he also held a position as visiting professor at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies, Bologna Center, Italy. His awards include a resident research fellowship by the Norwegian Nobel Institute in Oslo (Spring 2007) and a George Marshall/Baruch scholarship (2003-04).

Monday, 30 September, 2013

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Chad Stebbins

Phone: 417-625-9736
Website: Click to Visit