@JaniceOCG #ItalianFascismsEmpireCinema by @ruthbenghiat & @IUPress offers window to fascist racial & labor policies. Dr. Ruth Ben-Ghiat is live, Thurs., Feb. 10 at 8 pm ET, w/ “If America Fails?” on TWN, for chat on race & ethnicity in @HandmaidsOnHulu & relationship to current challenges to democracy.
Dr. Ruth Ben-Ghiat explored fascist racial and labor policies in her 2015 book – Italian Fascism’s Empire Cinema, published by Indiana University Press. I suspect Americans have a general sense of major aspects of Germany’s fascist experience, but know less about how fascism was practiced in Italy, and the impact this had on ethnic groups in Libya, Somalia, and Ethiopia. Thankfully, Dr. Ben-Ghiat has made Italian fascism a central focus of her scholarship – and we now have an historical record to draw on in imagining what could happen in a new fascist-era in the U.S.
- What were some of the racial and labor policies of fascists during the Mussolini era?
- What was striking to you about the ‘empire films’ that led you to write the book Italian Fascism’s Empire Cinema?
- What do you see as the role of film in the way humans behave in real life, if any?
- What happened to African people during Mussolini’s reign?
Let’s study the “cinema of dictatorship” and see what old tricks are being deployed in new ways. These are a few questions we can pose to Dr. Ben-Ghiat when she joins “If America Fails?” As always, please let us know the burning questions on your mind. — LMO
WATCH Dr. Ruth Ben-Ghiat, Professor of Italian and History, New York University | Arts & Sciences– LIVE – Thursday, February 10, 2022, 8 pm ET, on the TruthWorks Network YouTube channel, when she joins “If America Fails?: The Coming Tyranny,” in discussion on Race & Ethnicity evoked by The Handmaid’s Tale and modern American culture.
“Ruth Ben-Ghiat provides the first in-depth study of feature and documentary films produced under the auspices of Mussolini’s government that took as their subjects or settings Italy’s African and Balkan colonies. These ‘empire films’ were Italy’s entry into an international market for the exotic. The films engaged its most experienced and cosmopolitan directors (Augusto Genina, Mario Camerini) as well as new filmmakers (Roberto Rossellini) who would make their marks in the postwar years. Ben-Ghiat sees these films as part of the aesthetic development that would lead to neo-realism. Shot in Libya, Somalia, and Ethiopia, these movies reinforced Fascist racial and labor policies and were largely forgotten after the war. Ben-Ghiat restores them to Italian and international film history in this gripping account of empire, war, and the cinema of dictatorship.” — Publisher
“Any society can be susceptible to strongman figures if it’s the right time,” says Ruth Ben-Ghiat.
Dr. Ruth Ben-Ghiat, Professor of History and Italian Studies at New York University, is a historian, educator and commentator “on fascism, authoritarian leaders, and propaganda — and the threats these present to democracies. As author or editor of [seven] books, with over 100 op-eds and essays in CNN, The New Yorker, and The Washington Post, she brings historical perspective to her analyses of current events. Her insight into the authoritarian playbook has made her an expert source for television, radio, podcasts, and online events around the globe,” according to her website. Her most recent publication in Strongmen: Mussolini To The Present (2020).
Dr. Ben-Ghiat also maintains a blog on Substack – Lucid – where she writes and chats about current threats to democracy in America and abroad, and interviews other prominent voices in this arena. She is a historical consultant for film and television productions; a big fan of electronic music; and a yoga practitioner. “Ruth Ben-Ghiat… specializes in male menace. What interests her is the manufactured drama of world-historical strongmen—their mannerisms, speech patterns, stagecraft, and mythomania,” wrote Jon Blitzer of The New Yorker. Follow her Twitter feed @ruthbenghiat. — If America Fails?: The Coming Tyranny
SEE | Italian Fascism’s Empire Cinema | by Ruth Ben-Ghiat | Indiana University Press; Illustrated edition | 2/11/2015