This seminar examines the spectacular cultural displays employed by fascist regimes throughout the world to promote their political agendas. These public propaganda spectacles—parades, marches, rallies, theatrical performances, art exhibits, national celebrations, etc.—project and inculcate normative behaviors, nationalistic values and government ideals. At a time when the jingoistic zeal of certain international politicians is reminiscent of early twentieth-century fascist leaders, this seminar seeks to explore and understand the insidious connection between fascism, as well as related ideologies and regimes, and culture during the twentieth century. Papers may explore different ways that spectacle is used to assert power and control over subjects and promote an official culture through prescribed, sanctioned modes of discourse, beliefs and behaviors, as well as the political and cultural theories that buttress these spectacles. Explorations of the way counter-cultural artists and artistic movements subvert these spectacles to question official cultural programs and discourses are also welcome.
Topics might include:
Culture under Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Pavelic, Salazar, Antonescu, Perón, Pinochet, etc.
Benjamin and the “aestheticization of the political”
Film, fascism and popular culture
National(istic) vs. international interests
Theories of spectacle (Debord, Leotard, etc.)
Gender and fascism
Representations of national history
Fascist conceptions and constructions of space
Representations of power in art
Fascism and counter-culture
Fascism and the occult
Fascism and the avant-garde
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