Date of Award

Spring 5-17-2020

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Department

History

First Advisor

Karl Qualls

Language

English

Abstract

In order to sustain dictatorship, achieve totalitarian governance, and actualize massive demographic and imperialist goals such as a population increase of twenty million people and the creation of a new Roman Empire, Mussolini’s Fascist Italy had to construct popular consent. Furthermore, in the face of regionalism and a lack of a unified national identity, the Fascist government strove to create a new Italian identity around which the population could rally. In order to broadcast this identity and achieve consent, the regime utilized mass media as a tool to diffuse Fascist rhetoric and propaganda to Italians, focusing specifically on film. Although the regime aimed to reach all members of the Italian population, it was particularly important to propagandize and construct consent among Italian women, because their support of and service to the nation was crucial to the success of Fascism’s most transformational goals. Therefore, this thesis explores the intersection between Fascism’s gendered biopolitics, film, and popular consent. It compares the images of women displayed in state-run and propagandistic LUCE (L’unione Cinematografica Educativa, the Educational Film Union) newsreels and in privately produced yet state-backed popular films, particularly those known as “white telephone” films, in an effort to illustrate the regime’s attempt at creating an ideal Italian Fascist woman as part of the larger project of forging a new national identity and maintaining support for and consent to the regime.

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