Scientific Disciplinary Sector (SSD)
M-STO/04 - CONTEMPORARY HISTORY
Language of instruction
CuCi IIA, CuCi IIB
Analysis and understanding of complex historical processes over time (including the analysis of shorter historical times in a long-term perspective) and in space (by linking the national history with the European and international ones), capturing the complexity and articulation of historical events, while being able to identify the most significant causal nodes.
Atlantic Crossing: exchanges and transfers of knowledge between Europe and United States in the twentieth century
The course aims to provide an in-depth knowledge of the European history of the period 1900-1980 and of the history of political, diplomatic and cultural relations between Europe and the United States in those years. There are three crucial steps to understand the evolution of these relationships in the first half of the twentieth century: The Great War and the Thirties which saw the rise of two American presidents destined to play a central role on the world political scene namely Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D. Roosevelt and the phase that began after 1945 with the reconstruction of Europe and the beginning of the Cold War.
Particular attention will be devoted to the period between the two World Wars and to the birth and evolution of totalitarian regimes presented from a comparative and transnational perspective, covering political, cultural and intellectual history.
The central part of the course will be devoted to the analysis of the fundamental characteristics of totalitarian regimes, to the cultural and diplomatic relations with the American world, to the history of fascism from a transnational perspective, to the phenomenon of intellectual and political exile, and to the circulation of ideas between Europe and the United States in the interwar years. The last part of the course will focus on the evolution of political and diplomatic relations between Europe and United States after 1945, on the birth of a new world order and the beginning of the Cold War, and on economic development in the so-called Golden Age years of world capitalism.
By the end of the course the student must attain a high level of knowledge on: a) the periodization of the historical phases considered, b) the events that characterize the historical period considered, c) the different historical processes that totalitarianisms have generated, d) the historiographic interpretations related to these processes.
From the Great War to totalitarianism
1. The Great War and United States.
3. The post-war period and the crisis of liberal regimes in Europe.
4. Italian fascism: origins and transformations.
5. The Weimar Republic and the birth of Nazism.
6. The crisis of 1929.
1. The New Deal: a global perspective.
2. The crisis of Europe in the interwar years.
3. The United States and the "parallel diplomacy" of fascism.
4. Exchanges and circulations of ideas between Europe and the United States.
5. The experience of exile.
6. United States and World War II.
1. The crisis of diplomatic balance and the birth of a new world order.
2. The reconstruction of Europe.
3. The origins of the Cold War.
4. The Sixties and the cultural exchanges between Europe and the United States.
5. The Americanization of Europe.
6. The 70s-80s: protest movements and crisis of the liberal state.
1. One book chosen from the following:
S. Colarizi, Novecento d’Europa. L’illusione, l’odio, la speranza, l’incertezza, Laterza, 2015 (con esclusione del paragrafo 12).
K. Patel, Il New Deal. Una storia globale, Einaudi, 2018.
V. De Grazia, L’impero irresistibile. La società dei consumi americana alla conquista del mondo, Einaudi, 2006.
B. Steil, Il Piano Marshall. Alle origini della guerra fredda, Donzelli, 2018.
O. Wieviorka, Storia della resistenza nell’Europa occidentale 1940-1945, Einaudi, 2018.
2. Two books chosen from the following:
A. Testi, Il secolo degli Stati Uniti, Il Mulino, 2017.
M. Canali, La scoperta dell’Italia. Il fascismo raccontato dai corrispondenti americani, Marsilio, 2017.
J.W. Muller, L’enigma democrazia. Le idee politiche nell’Europa del Novecento, Einaudi, 2012 (e successive edizioni).
S. Cortesini, One day we must meet. Le sfide dell’arte e dell’architettura italiane in America (1933-1941), Johan & Levi Editore, 2018.
G. Borgognone, Tecnocrati del progresso. Il pensiero americano del Novecento tra capitalismo, liberalismo e democrazia, Utet, 2015.
Non-attending students must add to the above bibliography the volume:
D.W. Ellwood, Una sfida per la modernità. Europa e America nel lungo novecento, Carocci, 2012 (con esclusione del cap. 10).
Lectures, guided tour to museums and archives, projections of movies and documentaries, lessons with external guests, seminars.
The partecipants can prepare brief paper to present in class.
1. The assessment is based on an oral exam.
2. Students must demonstrate their capacity in using historical concepts and the appropriate language. They must also demonstrate their ability to make connection between different historical processes, both national and international.
3. Questions will be based on the most important topics discussed during the lessons and suggested in the literature.
4. Assessment method: a final mark from 18 to 30/30.