Italian Obligations

Though I found this article to be somewhat repetitive, I appreciated its loyalty to its purpose: the importance of Italy’s moral and material recognition of and reparations for their colonizing efforts in Africa. I agreed with the sentiment of the article that Italy still has not completely made up for the damages they caused. I found it very surprising to learn that Italy had not only offered to build a hospital as a physical and financial gesture of apology, they were, in fact, contractually obligated to complete the project and yet they never did. I find myself wondering how it has gone on for this long without someone stepping in and enforcing the contractual obligations. I liked that the article ended on a positive, and also ironic note, saying that with an increase in tourism from Italy to its old stomping grounds in Africa, modern day tourists may create the vacation destination that was originally intended.

Italians and the Invention of Race

I really enjoyed this article, though I did find it to be extensive and, at times, a little repetitive. It focuses on many areas on which our past readings have focused. Those that stuck out in particular to me were those of the development of gender roles, specifically the role of women and their position of subordination to men. I also thought that it was really interesting the way in which the author describes this desperate attempt to define and enforce a national and racial Italian identity. It is interesting how important it was to have a racial and national identity with which Italians could connect, even at the cost of the racism it encouraged.

I really like that the author connects these themes and analyzes them with the use of examples in literature. I also found section 4 very interesting. The author goes in depth to explain the way in which religion had a place in the process of colonization, and how the racial and social segregations that defined their colonization in Africa came to include religious segregation.

Mass-Mediated Fantasies of Feminine Conquest, 1930-1940

I found this article, specifically the aspect of propaganda, to be especially interesting. I have enjoyed the presence and analysis of propaganda during Italian fascism throughout the readings we have done so far. The colonies were portrayed to the women of Italy as an exotic and exciting place. Through the use of propagandistic images and selective words to describe the environment, the colonies seemed to be romanticized in a way that made them appealing to women. It is interesting that the method used to encourage women to visit the colonies focuses on these stereotypes of female fantasy that include aspects of various housewife duties. The appeal made to men to visit the colonies, however, was a representation of war and of conquering and improving. It was made appealing to men through its abundant presence of ways in which to exert masculinity.

Partilinearity, Race, and Identity…

This was, of course, an article that I found very interesting because it relates to my interest in Mussolini and his hatred towards women. Italian men impregnated many native women during the period of colonization in Africa, and many of these women were abandoned after the conception. Even if the Italian man decides to care for the mixed child, the women were still regularly abandoned and left in very difficult financial straits. It is very interesting to me, this idea that some of these men were capable of seeing their mixed children as Italian, enough to bring them back to Italy to raise them in some cases, yet the mothers of these children were simply used as a tool through which these men could display their masculinity and their reproductive capabilities. I don’t know exactly why Mussolini hates women so much, but I plan to do more research on the topic.

The Construction of Racial Hierarchies

What I found to be very interesting about this article is the fact that there was more racism towards the colonies and its natives after 1935 than there was during the period of actual colonization. This, as the article points out, is likely due to the proximity and relationships between the colonizers and the colonized. There were many interracial sexual relations during that time, as well as the conception of many mixed children. This makes me think of the Roman connection to Eritrea and how that shaped the way in which the Italians went about colonizing. Just as they felt a connection to the region in which their ancestors had once reigned, it would make sense that they too felt a closer connection to the colonies when they were actually present and active in them.

Duggan pages 483-526

The issue of the separation between church and state has been a common trend throughout history and, I believe, we sometimes still struggle with today. In a time when the ability to spread and share information was vastly limited, people were aware of that which they were told. In this conflict, people were receiving information from both Mussolini and the fascist regime, as well as from the church. It seems that politics and religion have a tendency to go hand in hand. In my opinion, (and I know I have made no secret of my opinion about the purpose of religion) both rely greatly on the manipulation of public thought. While there are many similarities between the hot topics of Catholicism and Fascism, the tension between the two tends to be a result of their differing views on these topics. I find that despite that lack of unanimous opinion that causes such conflict between church and state, politics and religion seem to be systematically linked. I find this is particularly apparent during elections. Many candidates for political positions bring religion into their campaign platforms, in an attempt to manipulate citizens to secure their votes.

Duggan, pages 449-483

One thing that particularly stuck out to me in this chapter connects it to many of the other readings we have done so far. The influence of education under any dictatorship was crucial to the success of a leader. The manipulation of education and information being made available to the public was intended to send messages specific to the goals of the dictatorship in question. This was also a common trend within religion. Duggan describes on page 459 that fascism “followed Catholicism and other leading religions in regarding education as critical to the attainment of a morally unified community.” It is true that religious groups used similar techniques to adjust information being shared in order to encourage the public to engage in similar thoughts and beliefs. This is yet another reason why I do not believe such a movement like fascism could exist in today’s world. People now have unlimited information available to them at their fingertips. It is much more difficult in this world to manipulate information in a significant enough way to initiate an actual movement.

Fascism as Discursive Regime


The one quote from this chapter that particularly stuck out to me was one I found on page 130. “…the regime produced new institutions and practices…: a newspaper column devoted to ridiculing the enemies’ propaganda…” As soon as I read this line I thought of the political cartoons found in newspapers today, illustrated for the intention of ridiculing various aspects of political parties, political leaders, governmental organizations, etc. It was very interesting to me that the methods used by journalists and politicians today to portray a certain negative message about their opponents were being used by Mussolini to achieve the same effect. After thinking of this I was, of course, unable to resist thinking to an episode of Family Guy entitles “Road to the Multiverse,” which features a clip that pokes fun at such cartoons as these. Also, it’s one of my favorite episodes of Family Guy (which is my favorite show).

here’s a link to the youtube clip of the part of the Family Guy episode I’m talking about. Watch it, it’s pretty funny.


Rhetorics of Virility

I found this article to be particularly interesting because it possessed many aspects that are similar or related to topics I have discussed in business classes. I recognized the first business characteristic in the following quote:

“…the decline of the aura can be attributed to the desire of the masses to bring things close to themselves and to their tendency to equate all things, to sense, as Benjamin puts it, the universal equality of things. This tendency is itself the effect of the mode of production, for what Benjamin seems to be describing is the effect of commodity fetishism on human perception. The abstraction makes exchange possible and that underlies what Marx calls the ‘mystery of money’ has led the masses to see things as equivalent.” (28)

This quote contains the idea that supports our entire economy and all economic transactions and activities across the world: the human ability to see material items as equivalent to a monetary value. This capability gives the ideas behind supply and demand the traction on which it can support its claims.

Secondly, the issue this article addresses of the inequality associated with gender. From the time that women made their first appearances in the workforce there have been obstacles created to limit their level of success to be much less than that of a man. This article describes many sexist ideologies that represent an aspect of society’s aversion to women in the workplace. Fascism and the idea of “virility” emphasis the positive aspects of a leader: strength, forcefulness, intelligence, and power. Virility identifies these characteristics as strictly “manly”, and emphasizes the identification of what were considered “feminized” characteristics as negative and harmful to the potential success and power of men. The chapter describes that “in fascist discourse, gender and sex are not to be mixed and matched: virility is the property of man, and femininity the property of women…The adjectives ‘masculine’ and ‘virile’ as applied to women were exclusively terms of abuse meant to deride the intellectual, ‘feminist,’ and hence sterile woman not properly devoted to her reproductive mission.” (17) Prejudices such as this are what contributed to developments of obstacles such as the glass ceiling effect, income disparities, and occupational segregation.