Wrapping up this semester has felt bittersweet. After working on this paper for so long, it feels weird to almost be finished with it. I am happy with the content and length of my paper, and spent this week doing some heavy proofreading.
At the end of my presentation, Dr. Lowe said “Basically, Fascism never really died in Italy.” I really enjoyed this phrase and have decided to begin my conclusion with it.
Throughout this entire process, I have found explaining my topic to those who know nothing about it to help me organize my thoughts. I did this with my roommate and my family at Easter lunch today, and I think it helped me create clearer claims, and also helped me to rework my thesis. My theses on the presentation and paper were different, and I think my thesis was much clearer on the presentation. The presentation helped me with word choice. The time limit helped me keep my thoughts concise, and I spent this week transferring these concise thoughts back into my paper.
This semester really flew by, and I can’t believe I’m turning in my final draft on Wednesday. I thought that this class really challenged me and made me a better writer. I wish everyone the best going forward!
This week was spent again mainly on my presentation. I am going first on Wednesday so I want to make sure I start off our group with a strong one. I created a script and have been rehearsing because I have had trouble presenting for as long as I can remember. I’ll work through it to give a good presentation on my final paper.
I got some great feedback during last week’s review session that I have begun to incorporate into my paper. First, I changed my title back to its original. I removed my geographical focus of Rome, and made the focus just Italy again. My title said “In Contemporary Italy” for most of the course, but then I changed it to “In Contemporary Rome” for a short while. Then, the person reading my paper suggesting changing Rome to Italy, so now my title is set in stone.
Last week I also discussed my paper topic with Professor Harvey Neptune, who I have for my history of global soccer class. Our class last week was based around racism in European soccer, so we had a great discussion about my paper. I am hoping to incorporate our reading from that class last week, “Accidental Racists: Experiences and Contradictions of Racism in Local Amsterdam Soccer Culture” by Floris Muller into my paper. It has a different geographical focus than my paper, but the article is conceptually rich and hammers home the point about racism having no singular source or remedy.
This week, I decided to change it up a bit. I started focusing more on my presentation as opposed to my paper in an effort to spark some creativity for this upcoming final push. I want to include a lot of visual aid in my presentation since my paper itself incorporates art and architecture. I began preparing a ‘script’ of sorts for my presentation too that will help me in meeting the 15 minute mark. Presenting has always been difficult for me, so I’m hoping that by starting this powerpoint early, I will be able to deliver a good presentation on the 17th.
Regarding my paper, I’m still searching for some newspaper primary sources. I have yet to locate a match report from the game where Mussolini was hit in the face with a soccer ball, which is a tad disappointing. I will try again on ProQuest tomorrow though, because I think that can really strengthen that section of my paper.
I have also been toying with the idea of breaking up my paper into sections by bolded words. I think that this helps compartmentalize my paper and also helps me see which areas I can trim, and which ones I need to add to. I am looking forward to the second full draft revision this week because I’m anticipating making more big changes to make my paper easier to read and my argument easier to follow.
This week I wasn’t able to take my writing retreat. It was a bit of a blessing in disguise that we didn’t have class though. We had a family emergency Wednesday night and I had to rush home. So if we had class, I would’ve had to leave early. The situation is better now, though, and I’m giving myself tomorrow night to do my writing retreat.
I focused my research this week on making my historiography more European. I found some interesting articles on JSTOR concerning memory, monuments, and memorials in Berlin. I’m glad I was able to resolve this problem with my paper. I wanted to keep my conceptual historiography, but was worried I would not find any sources that concerned European history in this field. However, with the help of Dr. Lowe in our meeting, and with a few articles I read this week, I can keep my historiography conceptual. I’m excited to rewrite it tomorrow.
With that out of the way, I just have some semantics to take care of with my paper (proofreading, structure, etc.) I think I’m in pretty good shape for Wednesday’s final draft. I will spend tomorrow on my historiography and the last 1000 words of my paper, which I need to decide the direction of. I might include some present events of neofascism in soccer in Italy, or just add more 1970s history.
This week was spent mainly researching Italian politics. I wrote extensively about them in my second draft, and I believe they add the missing piece to my central argument. In preparation for my final drafts, I need to mesh together the claims of my paper better. I have the art history section, the political science section, and the modern section. I need to bring all of these sections together into one cohesive paper around my argument of the Mussolini obelisk allowing neo-fascism to thrive in Rome. Paragraph order and organization is something I find myself struggling with on this project, but I welcome this challenge, since I expected my challenges to lie in finding sources, and that has not been the case.
I also spent some time researching the role of women in Italian fascist propaganda. While the government emphasized the role of wife + mother that women needed to serve, women were also included in the balilla youth. I will add my new research to the paper to show the all encompassing nature of fascist propaganda, and really drive home how the propaganda was inescapable during 1930s and 40s Rome.
I still could not find any transcript or recordings of the Mussolini Ascension Day speech I was looking for, so that was disheartening. Still, I think I believe my paper will be strong without it.
Next week will be spent reworking my intro paragraphs to include the new material I decided to write about that wasn’t included in my outline. Perhaps reworking my outline will help in this process, too. I am looking forward making a ton of progress this week, and I am excited to see what my first full draft looks like.
With most of my research done already, I focused in on two areas this week. I wanted to research how to cite things such as images and statues in the Chicago style. I also wanted to find another primary source to use in my paper to emphasize how Mussolini used militaristic rhetoric when describing sports.
I found a great guide on how to cite paintings and images in Chicago on a website sponsored by Bates College. Those are the last things missing from my final bibliography, so I will be adding them into my bib in preparation for the final draft due in 2 weeks.
As for the primary source search, it has not gone well. I am looking for a certain speech given by Mussolini on Ascension Day in 1927 in Rome. According to some secondary sources, in this speech, Mussolini acknowledges Italy’s need for physical prowess and personal hygiene. If I cannot find this speech, I’ll just have to use the quotes from secondary sources that I find. I have found some other speeches that seem to be beneficial, however. I have found a 1941 Mussolini speech that speaks ill of the English, where Mussolini uses words like ‘victory’ and shows Mussolini discussing a certain superiority in culture and history over England. I could use this in my paper in relation with the England-Italy soccer rivalry that was occurring at the same time.
The last thing I am searching for is the Doctrine of Fascism, sort of Mussolini’s ‘Mein Kampf.’ Once I find this essay in its entirety, I want to search it to see if it mentions sport at all, with regards to physical health of the nation. I think that more primary sources would make my paper stronger, and would allow me to really drive home the point of how Mussolini made Fascism and sport inseparable in his society.
This week was an extremely productive one for my paper.
I started to put in double research time in order to prepare for wednesday’s assignment. In another class of mine, History of Global Soccer, we began to discuss the World War II years of the sport. This is where I learned of the Balilla Youth organization in Rome. This group was basically the Fascist boy scouts, promoting all young boys to engage in sport – whether it be soccer, rugby, fencing, or wrestling. I have been working all week from that class’s textbook, The Ball is Round by David Goldblatt, and it has proven extremely valuable to my paper. Goldblatt covers the history of the sport of soccer in general, so I’m hoping that by going through his footnotes, I can find more detailed sources regarding Fascism and soccer.
Now that I have a clear vision for the paper, the outline and thesis seem less intimidating. They will still require a significant amount of revision, but I am confident that the assignment will create a sturdy spine for my paper.
I found another primary source that is architectural. It is another building associated with the Olympic Forum in Rome, a fencing building that displays the myth of Icarus on it. Mussolini’s government approved architects seemed to play with mythology in their work, and I want to research their motives behind that.
This week was spent going through some of the articles suggested to me on my topic proposal. One piece of work that I will absolutely incorporate into my paper was about the Nazi Olympics in 1936 Berlin, from the University of Illinois Press, titled: “The Nazi Olympics: Sport, Politics, and Appeasement in the 1930s. This book also has an entire chapter on Mussolini’s participation at these Olympics. These Olympics were used as a vehicle to spread the ideas of Nazi Fascism. Mussolini saw this event as so successful that he wanted to host the 1940 Olympics and a World’s Fair in Rome. He constructed an entirely new neighborhood of Rome that still stands today, called EUR. This neighborhood provides more art and architecture as primary sources for my paper. I have to start narrowing down which buildings and paintings I’d like to use because there appears to be an abundance of them, which excites me. Next week, I hope to research the 1934 and 1938 World Cups, which perhaps could’ve also been used as forms of Fascist propaganda. My research this week suggested an emphasis on physical health and stature in the age of Fascist Italy, and I’m hoping that both of these World Cup victories by Italy will confirm this societal emphasis.
After lots of indecisiveness, I am happy to say that I am finally approaching a solid topic for my research paper. I did some extensive research this week for my new angle, which considers the role of Fascism and sport in Italy. Mussolini intertwined sport with his Fascist society, therefore aligning soccer, rugby, plane racing, and skiing with his Fascist ideals riddled with hate. I want to investigate Italy’s problem with racism and antisemitism in sport today, and make the case that the country has not successfully acknowledged its Fascist past.
The past week was mainly spent researching newspaper articles from today, from sources such as the Gazzetta Dello Sport, locating cases of racism in soccer. I also found some intriguing journal articles on EBSCO Host regarding how Mussolini used sport as a powerful form of propaganda. One particularly fruitful one was from Penn’s repository, titled “The Power of Image in the Age of Mussolini.” I’m very excited about this upcoming week’s class and the individual meeting, because I finally feel as if I have something of substance to report.
The best part of this paper topic is that it will still incorporate the idea of the obelisk of Mussolini, so all of my previous research was not necessarily wasted. This obelisk is still standing today, without acknowledgement from the Italian government, allowing for free interpretations of the monument. What Italy needs is an administrative body that acknowledges Italy’s Fascist past while stating that they wish to move past it. Sadly, the current government seems to be moving backwards instead of forwards, so I think that this case study will be intriguing.
In my research this week, I attempted to start morphing my topic again. I cast a rather large net with my topic of how Mussolini and Augustus used certain forms of propaganda, and I started to search to see if there was any way I could narrow it down. In our email discussions last Wednesday, my partner was concerned with the scope of my paper as well, suggesting to narrow it down in order to create a better argument and a more effective paper.
I began to consider just comparing how Mussolini and Augustus used obelisks as effective forms of propaganda. Augustus erected an obelisk in the Circus Maximus, which has since been moved, but is still standing to this day in Rome. Mussolini’s obelisk is also still standing. I read an article this week from BBC detailing how underneath the obelisk of Mussolini, a manuscript was found. This manuscript gives insight on how Mussolini wished for it to be excavated someday, ideally during the times of prosperity in the future of his Fascist Empire. I enjoyed reading about how Mussolini tried to shoehorn his way into the narrative of history himself, often taking steps to consciously form his own legacy.
I also tried to find more primary sources regarding the obelisk of Augustus. I have not found anything yet, but I am hoping through secondary source analysis, I will uncover an ancient Roman writer who mentioned the obelisk in one of their works.