BSR Online Lecture | 1921 e dintorni: police, informers and the State



Mauro Canali (Camerino), Jonathan Dunnage (Swansea) and Maura Hametz  (James Madison). Chaired by Simon Martin (Trinity College Rome; BSR)

This event will be in Italian and English.

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

During the period of its rise to power, the squadristi and fascist movement in general often acted in alliance with the state, and the police forces, or were tolerated by these organisations. Once in power, fascism relied on an extensive network of police informers and spies to gather information and suppress all opposition. This has produced a vast amount of archival information which has been used by scholars in many different ways since the fall of the regime. This session will discuss the role of the police before, during and after fascism and the networks of spies who operated in the 1920s and 1930s, as well as the different uses of various forms of archives.

Jonathan Dunnage was formerly Associate Professor of Modern European History at Swansea University, Wales, UK, where he is now an Honorary Research Associate. His research has focused on police institutions and their personnel and the policing of politics in 20th-century Italy. His publications include: The Italian Police and the Rise of Fascism: A Case Study of the Province of Bologna, 1897-1925 (Praeger Publishers, 1997) and Mussolini’s Policemen: Behaviour, Ideology and Institutional Culture in Representation and Practice (Manchester University Press, 2012). More recently, he has investigated strategies for culturally militarizing the Public Security Guard (Corpo delle Guardie di Pubblica Sicurezza) after the Second World War. He is currently researching political/press narratives about crime and internal security in the early Cold War period.

Maura Hametz is Professor of History and Academic Unit Head of the Department of History at James Madison University, Virginia, USA. Her research examines the Adriatic provinces in the late Habsburg empire and Italy from the mid-nineteenth century to the present with emphasis on the intersections of politics, culture, economy, law, religion, gender, and ethnic and national identities. She is the author of Making Trieste Italian, 1918-1954 (Royal Historical Society, 2005), In the Name of Italy: Nation, Family, and Patriotism in a Fascist Court (Fordham U. Press, 2012) and co-editor of Sissi’s World: The Empress Elisabeth in Myth and Memory (Bloomsburg, 2018). She is currently working on interwar citizenship and anti-fascism in the Italian borderlands and a study of coercion by the state in the Tribunale dello Stato, 1926-1943.

Mauro Canali was Professor of Contemporary History at the University of Camerino and a visiting professor at Harvard University in 2006. He is currently Advisor for Modern Italian Studies at the American Academy in Rome, a member of the scientific committee of “RAI Storia”, a columnist for the Italian daily Il Mattino, and collaborates with the Journal of Modern Italian Studies, Nuova storia contemporanea and Liberal. Specializing in the history of Fascist control and police system, he is the author of the first comprehensive history of the Fascist political police Le Spie del Regime (il Mulino, 2004), Il Delitto Matteotti (Il Mulino, 1997, latest edition 2015) and La scoperta dell’Italia. Il fascismo raccontato dai corrispondenti americani (Marsilio, 2017). His latest work (ed.), Rodolfo Graziani. I diari 1940-1941 (Nuova Argos) will be published in October 2021. Among his essays in English are Mussolini and His Myths, in “Sinnverlust und Sinnfindung am Anfang des 20”. Jahrhunderts (2011); Crime and Repression, Oxford Handbook of Fascism (OUP, 2009); Ignazio Silone and the Fascist political police (Journal of Modern Italian Studies, 2000) and Matteotti Murder and the Origins of Mussolini’s Totalitarian Fascist Regime in Italy (Journal of Modern Italian Studies, 2009).