Universiteit Leiden

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Lecture | Seminar

Italy From Facism to Democracy. And Back?

  • Mark Gilbert (John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, Bologna)
Wednesday 27 September 2023
EU Seminar
Pieterskerkhof 6
2311 SR Leiden

Italy's society, politics, and culture are turbulent, and the current political moment is only the latest in the series of dramatic shifts that have led many observers to question the resilience of Italian democracy. Yet history should suggest otherwise. Italy's institutions have remained largely the same since 1948, the key choices that post-war premier Alcide De Gasperi made in the sphere of foreign policy -- Atlanticism and Europeanism -- remain crucial for Italy's geopolitical strategy today, and the values of the post-war constitution command assent across the political spectrum. It goes against ingrained habits of thought to regard Italy as being, along with (West) Germany, the most striking example of a successful transition to democracy during the so-called second wave of democratization after 1945, but that is perhaps how we should think about it. 
In this talk, Professor Mark Gilbert discusses the key findings of his upcoming book, Italy Reborn: from Fascism to Democracy (Penguin 2024) and uses these findings to reflect on the revival of Italian nationalism and populism in the last decade. Professor Gilbert is a renowned historian of Europe who has authored and edited several landmark volumes and textbooks on the history of European integration, Euroscepticism, the Cold War, and the transformation of Italian politics, including European Integration: A political history (2020), Euroscepticism: the historical roots of a political challenge (2020), The world since 1945: an international history (2016), Cold War Europe (2014), Surpassing Realism: the politics of European integration since 1945 (2003), among others.

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