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Who is a fascist? Culture and Politics on the Radical Right - Fall 2018

Professor Jeffrey Schnapp

This seminar provides an in-depth introduction to fascism, its intellectual and political roots, its critique of liberal democracy and socialism, and the traces fascism has left on the contemporary cultural-political scene from Marine Le Pen's Rassemblement National to the American alt-right to populist insurgencies like Trumpism. It begins with readings from key fascist thinkers and theorists, before surveying a series of domains where artists, writers, architects, film-makers, and engineers sought to interpret and embody the ?fascist revolution? not just in Italy but worldwide. Among the figures considered are mystical nationalists like Gabriele D?Annunzio; Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, founder and leader of the Futurist movement; the American poet Ezra Pound, author of the Cantos, one of the masterpieces of 20th century American poetry; Leni Riefenstahl, the film director of classic documentaries such as Olympia and Triumph of the Will; the architects Marcello Piacentini and Adolf Speer, the former Italy?s leading designer of public monuments and buildings during the Mussolini era, the latter Hitler?s preferred architect; and the engineer Gaetano Ciocca, creator of everything from Corporativist pig farms to mass-produced worker housing to mass sports stadia. Seminar themes will include: fascism vs. nazism; collectivism vs. individualism; radical right attitudes towards technology and industrialization; and examinations of the convergences and divergences between mid-20th century fascisms and the sub-cultures of today?s alt-right. The capstone project for the semester will involve an original research project focused on a contemporary alt-right group.

For more information about this course visit the Harvard University Course Catalog