BSR Online Lecture | 1921 e dintorni: 'Fascist martyrs'

THURSDAY 28 OCTOBER 2021, 18.00 – 19.30 CET


Simon Martin (Trinity College Rome; BSR); Amy King (Bristol); Hannah Malone (Max Planck). Chaired by John Foot (Bristol).

This event will be in English.

This event will take place via Zoom and requires advance registration. Please click here to reserve your place.

Even prior to its rise to power, fascism actively sought to construct a myth of its past through its ‘martyrs’, many of whom ‘fell’ in 1921. Given the full status of war dead the numbers of fascist ‘fallen’ depend upon how deaths were interpreted and calculated, with fascism claiming 3,000 dead militants between 1919 and 1922. Following the March of Rome, Italians who died in World War I were also appropriated by the regime as it sought to build a cult around the dead that would contribute to the creation of a political religion. Exploiting the past for political ends, the celebration of the fascist ‘fallen’ and appropriation of the World War I dead was also designed to eliminate all other memories from the postwar period. This will conversation will examine how Fascism created and exploited its own ‘fallen’, and how it appropriated the dead in World War I.  

Hannah Malone is a historian who uses architecture to explore politics, Fascism, and memory in Italy. As Assistant Professor Contemporary History at the University of Groningen, she is now completing a book on Fascist Italy’s military ossuaries (sacrari) of the First World War. Previously, she worked as a research fellow and lecturer at the British School at Rome, Magdalene College Cambridge, the Freie Universität and the Max Planck Institute in Berlin. She is author of a monograph entitled Architecture, Death and Nationahood (Routledge, 2017) and a prize-winning article on “The Republican legacy of Italy’s Fascist ossuaries of the First World War” (Modern Italy, March 2019).

Amy King is a lecturer in Liberal Arts at the University of Bristol and specialises in the history and memory of Italy’s secular martyrs. Her latest article ‘The Battle for Influence: Memory of Transnational Martyrs in the U.S. Italian Diaspora Under Fascism’ analyses commemoration of the Italian antifascist Giacomo Matteotti and the Blackshirts Giuseppe Carisi and Michele Ambrosoli, who were killed in New York, and proposes the concept of the transnational martyr. She is currently writing a book that considers the ways in which memory of the 1973 ‘Rogo di Primavalle’ has been incorporated into neo-fascist identity from the Movimento Sociale Italiano to CasaPound.

Simon Martin is a historian who works on sport, Fascism and memory in Italy. His doctoral thesis on football and fascism in Mussolini’s Italy was published in 2004 by Berg and won the British Society for Sport’s History’s Lord Aberdare Prize for literary history. It was published in Italian as Calcio e Fascismo by Oscar Mondadori, in 2006. His second monograph, Sport Italia. The Italian love affair with sport (IB Tauris, 2010), also won the Lord Aberdare Prize. In 2019 he co-edited a special edition of Modern Italy ‘Dealing With Difficult Heritage. Italy and the material legacies of Fascism’. Currently completing his third monograph, his analysis of the myth, memory and meaning of the Fascist martyr Giovanni Berta will be pubished in 2022. He teaches at Trinity College Rome Campus and is a Research Fellow at the British School at Rome.