Jeremy S. Roethler
History of the fascist era in modern Europe from 1919 to 1945. A study of the principal examples of national fascism and fascist-like movements coupled with a general theoretical consideration of the phenomenon.
This course will explore the history of the fascist era in modern Europe from 1919 to 1945. The narrative will introduce a working definition for the term and summarize problems encountered by historians and political scientists in interpretation and application. The course will then examine the phenomenon of fascism through three different lenses: (1) as a product of longer-term cultural and intellectual crises emerging through the late 19th and early 20th centuries (such as the emergence of counter-liberal ideas and ideologies and the progressive mutation of orthodox Marxism); (2) as a response to the social, economic and political ruptures in European society already evident prior to and then profoundly aggravated by the experience of the Great War (1914-1918); and (3) as one (by no means only) consequence of the emergence of mass politicized society during the Inter-War Era. Finally, the course will end by comparing fascist parties and regime types in Italy and Germany, with reference to minor movements and fascist-like regimes elsewhere in Europe. Unlike many narratives that avoid the tricky problems inherent in accessing ideologically laden texts, this course will move beyond the textbook scholarly narrative and take seriously the written words of noteworthy historical fascist actors and authors.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Course assumes no prior background in the subject matter. No specific recommended preparation. Background in modern European history (including more specific national histories of Germany and/or Italy), European intellectual and cultural history, political science, political theory or political philosophy helpful, but not required. A genuine enthusiasm to read texts and to think critically and creatively.
Class assignments and grading
Class meets daily. Alternate lecture and student-generated discussion format. Class meetings will include occassional films and documentaries. Grading is based on paper grades, in-class quizes and student participation.