100 years of Italian Fascism

A new series on Italian Fascism organised by the ICI in collaboration with ASMI. John Foot (University of Bristol) and Philp Cooke (University of Strathclyde) will explore themes like the rise of Fascism, violence, the empire, martyrdom in fascist culture, the March on Rome. 100 years after the blackshirts' rampage through Italy in 1921 and the subsequent Fascist takeover of 1922, this in-depth analysis of the world's very first fascist movement is both an enlightening discussion from a historical point of view, as well as a political reminder of how a liberal state can collapse into a dictatorship.


Strongmen and Mussolini

Jhon Foot in conversation with Ruth Ben-Ghiat (recorded 17 March 2021)

Ours is the age of the strongman. Countries from Russia to India, Turkey to America are ruled by men who combine populist appeal with authoritarian policy. They have reshaped their countries around them, creating cults of personality which earn the loyalty of millions. And they do so by drawing on a playbook of behaviour established by figures such as Benito Mussolini, Muammar Gaddafi and Adolf Hitler. So why - despite the evidence of history - do strongmen still hold such appeal for us? Historian Ruth Ben-Ghiat draws on analysis of everything from gender to corruption and propaganda to explain who these political figures are - and how they manipulate our own history, fears and desires in search of power at any cost. Strongmen is a fierce and perceptive history, and a vital step in understanding how to combat the forces which seek to derail democracy and seize our rights.

Ruth Ben-Ghiat is Professor of History and Italian Studies at New York University and a political commentator and cultural critic who has received Guggenheim, Fulbright, and other fellowships. An expert on fascism and its memory, authoritarian rulers, Donald Trump, and propaganda, she's written for or appeared on BBC World News, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Sky News, New Yorker and other media outlets.
Her book Strongmen. How They Rise, Why They Succeed, How They Fall came out with Profile books in 2020.

You can find the video here.