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.
I have had a fairly hectic week regarding research. I keep going back and forth regarding my topic, tweaking different aspects based on the direction I want to take my paper in. In preparation for my topic proposal, I have decided to still focus on Italian history, but have changed what my paper is centered around. Now, I would like to discuss Mussolini in relation to the Emperor Augustus. I want to discuss how both men controlled the ‘pop culture’ of their times, in Fascist Italy and Imperial Rome, respectively, to give validity to their rule. Augustus was infatuated with connecting himself to the divine, in order to make himself appear as more than mortal to the Roman people. In his footsteps, Mussolini did the same, adding himself to the family tree of the Caesars. Some interesting sources I have found are archaeological. The Ara Pacis (Arc of peace) is a triumphal arch from Augustus’ time, which he used to depict epics of himself with Greek figures such as Achilles. Another interesting archaeological source is the Forum of Augustus in Central Rome. Its excavation was led by none other than Mussolini, who created a Plaza right next to the Forum, to further his fabricated connection to Augustus. Another source I have found fruitful is a specific speech delivered from Mussolini, when he is calling for the citizens of Italy to support his desired conquests in Africa, to expand the ’empire’ of the country. Mussolini was obsessed with a return to the prowess of the Roman Empire, and made various connections to it through his speeches and acts. I found one interesting secondary source so far, called Mussolini and the Idealization of Empire that investigates how Mussolini was changing the landscape of Rome to show new connections to the past.
Below is a photo of the Forum of Augustus
My name is Ray Carpenter, and I am a senior history major. My interests lie in Italian history. I love studying everything from the Imperial age to the age of Fascism. Italy has such a tumultuous history, and is a rather young country that is still culturally divided. Its rich past has always peaked my interest.
I am from South Philadelphia, about a mile away from Lincoln Financial Field. I went to high school around the corner from Temple’s campus, at St. Joseph’s Prep on 17th and Girard. My love for history started when I was little, but really grew as I was able to take specific courses of interest of high school. Some of my favorite courses were centered around the modern world and Cold War history. From an early age, I was always intrigued by the stories of my grandparents. They still talk so vividly about their older relatives from their hometowns in Italy. To learn about my family through history is something I cherish, and I hope to incorporate it into my final project.
I will be attending law school next year. I have sent my applications out and am patiently waiting to hear back from schools. I am staying local, and I hope to go to Temple Law. I always knew I wanted to be a lawyer, but I struggled to find the right college major to prepare me for law school. After switching my major six times, I think I chose correctly with my history major.
I have two possible ideas for my topic. The first regards my family’s history, as I have a book detailing the history of my grandfather’s hometown, Monteroduni, Molise. The book, however, is in Italian, and my Italian is a little rough. I will start reading the book and then decide if I can morph it into a research topic. The second project I am considering is to research the history of the Italian North-South regional divide. It’s still a heated topic to this day, and I would like to pinpoint its origins. I am interested in using the podcast medium for my final project. I own a proper microphone and have recorded some with friends in the past. This semester, I am looking forward to crafting my final project as I wait to hear from the law schools I applied to.
Below is my grandfather’s hometown in Italy, where we still vacation in his childhood home.