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Unit information: The Culture of Fascism in 2017/18

Unit name The Culture of Fascism
Unit code ITAL30031
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Professor. Burdett
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Italian
Faculty Faculty of Arts


This unit explores various dimensions of how the fascist regime in Italy represented itself and how Italians experienced and understood Fascism during the 20 years in which Mussolini held power. The unit uses different documents of the period (feature films, documentaries, political speeches) as the means of looking at questions such as political consensus and dissent, identity and political ideology, race, empire and national identity, visual culture and cultural production.


  • To introduce students to a significant body of knowledge of a complexity appropriate to final year level. The content matter will normally include one or more of the following: literature; social, cultural or political history; linguistics; cultural studies; film, television or other media.
  • To facilitate students’ engagement with a body of literature, including secondary literature, texts, including in non-print media, primary sources and ideas as a basis for their own analysis and development. Normally many or most of these sources will be in a language other than English and will enhance the development of their linguistic skills.
  • To develop further skills of synthesis, analysis and independent research, building on the skills acquired in units at level I.
  • To equip students with the skills to undertake postgraduate study in a relevant field.

Intended learning outcomes

Successful students will:

  • be knowledgable about a significant cultural, historical or linguistic subject related to the language they are studying;
  • will have advanced skills in the selection and synthesis of relevant material;
  • be able to evaluate and analyse relevant material from a significant body of source materials, usually in a foreign language, at an advanced level;
  • be able to respond to questions or problems by presenting their independent judgements in an appropriate style and at an advanced level of complexity;
  • be able to transfer these skills to other working environments, including postgraduate study.

Teaching details

Two seminar hours per week across one teaching block (22 contact hours).

Assessment Details

essay 50%, short essay 25%, presentation 25%

Reading and References

Set Texts:

The reading for the course will consist largely of a course pack distributed to students at the beginning of the unit. Students should, however, purchase:

Sciascia, L., Gli zii di Sicilia (for the story, 'L'Antimonio'), (Milan: Adelphi, 1992).

Students are also advised to read and if possible to purchase:

Schnapp, J., A Primer of Italian Fascism (University of Nebraska Press, 2000)

Ben-Ghiat, R., Fascist Modernities. Italy 1922-45 (University of California Press, 2001).