Fall 2015 - HIST 445 D100

Problems in Modern Italian History (4)

Class Number: 5900

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 8 – Dec 7, 2015: Thu, 1:30–5:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units including nine units of lower division history.



Examines the politics, society and culture of fascism in Italy from 1922 to World War II. Students with credit for HIST 486 when offered with the title Italian Fascism or Fascist Italy (Spring 2006, Spring 2008, Fall 2008) may not take this course for further credit.


This seminar offers an intensive examination of the major issues and problems of fascism in Italy from 1922 to the Second World War. Why did fascism originate in Italy? Why were millions of Italians attracted to the cult figure of Benito Mussolini? After the March on Rome in 1922, how did the Duce attempt to carry out the “Fascist revolution”? What was life like under the totalitarian experiment? This course will seek to answer these questions by focusing on Italian politics, culture and society under Mussolini’s dictatorship. Topics will include the seizure and consolidation of power; the relationship between Church and State; the pursuit of empire and the “Third Rome”; the project to refashion Italians culturally and biologically; the collapse of the regime during World War II; and the legacies of dictatorship, anti-Semitism and the Resistance.  

To make sense both textually and visually of Italy’s experience under fascism, this seminar will adopt a two-half structure. The first half will offer a reading-intensive immersion into the origins and development of Mussolini’s dictatorship. We will devote the second half of the term to analyzing representations of fascism in Italian cinema from the 1930s to the present day. Students will be required to view one film (out of class) per week. Supplemental readings, brief writing exercises, and an essay will be assigned along with the films.


  • Participation* 30%
  • Midterm exam 20%
  • Film-analysis essay 15%
  • Take-home final 35%
  • * Participation includes attendance, in-class presentations, brief written assignments and overall seminar performance.



Alexander De Grand, Italian Fascism: Its Origins and Development

Martin Clark, Mussolini

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://students.sfu.ca/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html