Summer Scholars Share Insights on Interwar European Politics

August 15, 2022
Dr. Ragaù begins her remarks on August 4, 2022

The Friends of UW-Madison seek to provide scholars around the country and the world opportunity to access unique collections held by the UW-Madison Libraries, and to share what these researchers find with the broader community. On August 4, 2022, they hosted a lecture-luncheon which brought a fascinating glimpse of Italian and other European history from the shelves of UW-Madison Libraries to the ears of a rapt audience.

The George L. Mosse Program and the Friends of the UW-Madison Libraries co-sponsored two scholars from Italy who wished to conduct research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Applying in late 2019, they were selected in a competitive process to receive funding to travel here to access unique materials held at UW-Madison. When the pandemic occurred, all travel was sidelined for over two years. Finally, both scholars were able to arrive on campus this summer. Last week Dr. Donatello Aramini (Ph.D., Sapienza University, Rome) and Dr. Stefania Ragaù (Ph.D., Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa) presented lectures on their research into the history of European Fascism and Nationalism.

Though campus is quieter during the summer, forty people attended the lectures in Memorial Library, where they also enjoyed a boxed lunch. Skye Doney, Director of the Mosse Program, introduced the speakers. Both presenters focused on the rise of conservative political influence in Italy that occurred between the World Wars. Dr. Aramini spoke on the subject, “Nationalists and Fascists in Interwar Italy.” He explained the distinction between Nationalists-Conservatives and Fascists, and the evolution of political power after the former merged into the Fascist Party in 1923. Dr. Ragaù spoke on “Nationalist Humanism After George L. Mosse.” As Mosse was a renowned UW-Madison historian who sought to understand the cultural and intellectual origins of Nazism, her talk resonated with many in the room. In response to one of many questions, Dr. Ragaù noted that, contrary to what some might have expected, there were Jews among the Italian political leadership until the Racial Laws of 1938.

The Friends and the Mosse Program were delighted to host these accomplished scholars. New applications to assist scholars coming to UW-Madison are being accepted now through December 31, 2022. Decisions will be announced in early 2023 for travel to occur that year.

Left to Right: Dr. Donatello Aramini, Skye Doney, Dr. Stefania Ragaù