Skip to page Content.

Ruth Ben-Ghiat

Professor of History , Italian

Ph.D. (Comparative History), Brandeis; B.A., University of California at Los Angeles (History).

Personal Homepage:

External Affiliations:

Editorial or Advisory Boards: Journal of Modern Italian Studies; Journal of Romance Studies; European History Quarterly, gender/sexuality/Italy. Member: American Association of Italian Studies, American Historical Association, Modern Language Association, Society for Italian Historical Studies.


Ruth Ben-Ghiat uses an innovative mix of visual, written and sound sources from international archives to capture the feel and logic of a historical period or situation and bring out its relevance for our own day. As a Huffington Post blogger and frequent contributor to CNN (, she often writes about propaganda and political theatre, from Europe in the 1930s to the 2016 American Presidential election. Ben-Ghiat sits on the Board of Directors of the World Policy Institute, and in 2013 received an Award for Outstanding Service for her work for the Scholar Rescue Fund of the Institute of International Education. She consults for advertising agencies and film production companies, advises universities and cultural institutions in the USA and abroad, and works with technology companies on digital content curation.

Other Fields of Study include: Modern and Contemporary European international and cultural history; Wars and Captivities; Fascisms and Authoritarian Personalities; Propaganda and the Politics of Images and Sound; Empires and their legacies; Modern Italy.

For Selected works please see below.

Social Media Links:

Twitter: @ruthbenghiat.
LinkedIn profile:


Collegio Carlo Alberto Italian Studies Fellowship; John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship; National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship; Mellon Foreign Area Fellowship, Library of Congress; Fulbright Research Fellowship; Getty Research Institute Postdoctoral Fellowship; Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation Grant; American Philosophical Society Grant.



Italian Mobilities, co-edited with Stephanie Malia Hom (Routledge, 2015)


Prisoners of War: Italians in French, German, and British Captivity, 1940-1950 (in progress)

Italian Fascism's Empire Cinema. Indiana University Press, 2015.

Winner, Modern Language Association's Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Award for Best Unpublished Manuscript in Italian Studies


Fascist Modernities: Italy, 1922-45. (California, 2004)


Italian translation: La cultura fascista. Bologna: Mulino, 2000, 2004.



Editor:Gli imperi: dall’antichità ad oggi. Bologna: Mulino, 2009.


Italian Colonialism, (with Mia Fuller). New York: Palgrave, 2005, 2008.

Selected Articles and Book Chapters

“The Imperial Moment in Fascist Cinema,” Journal of Modern European History,
 vol.13, no.1 (2015): 59-78.

“Fascism’s Imperial Moment,” Journal of Contemporary European History (forthcoming 2014)

"Narrating War in Italian Fascist Cinema," in M. Mondini - M. Rospocher (eds.), Narrating War.  Perspectives from XVI - XX centuries, (Berlin and Bologna: Dunker& Humbolt/Il Mulino, 2013), pp.249-268.

"Il Lungo Novecento del colonialismo italiano," in Unita Multiple. Centocinquant'anni? Unità Italia?, ed. Marta Petruscewicz (Rubettino, forthcoming 2014).

“Italian Fascism’s Empire Cinema: Kif tebbi, The Conquest of Libya, and the Assault on the Nomadic,” in Postcolonial Cinemas, eds. Sandra Ponzanesi and Marguerite Waller (New York: Routledge, 2012), pp.20-31. Revised as “Cinema e impero,” Narrativa 33/34 (2011/2012): 55-67.

“Italian Film in the Aftermath of War and Dictatorship,” in Histories of  the Aftermath: Postwar Europe in Comparative Perspective, eds. Frank Biess and Robert Moeller (New York: Berghahn, 2010), pp.156-174.

“Un cinéma d’après-guerre: le néoréalisme italien et la transition démocratique,” Annales. Histoire, Science Sociales vol.63, no.6 (novembre-décembre 2008): 1215-1248.

“Modernity is Just Over There: Colonialism and National Identity in Italy,” Interventions. International Journal of Postcolonial Studies, vol.8, no.3 (2006): 380-383.

“Unmaking the Fascist Man: Film, Masculinity, and the Transition from Dictatorship.” Journal of Modern Italian Studies, special issue on Italian masculinity, vol. 10, no.3 (fall 2005): 336-365.

"1860," in The Cinema of Italy, ed. Giorgio Bertellini (London: Wallflower Press, 2004), 20-29.

“The Italian Colonial Cinema: Agendas and Audiences,” Modern Italy, vol.8, no.1 (May 2003), pp.49-64.

“A Lesser Evil? Italian Fascism in/and the Totalitarian Equation,” in The Lesser Evil: Moral Approaches to Genocide Practices, eds. Helmut Dubiel and Gabriel Motzkin (New York and London: Routledge, 2004), pp.137-153.

“Die italienischen Universitäten in der Diktatur Mussolinis,” in Zwischen Autonomie und Anpassung: Universitäten in den Diktaturen des 20 Jahrhunderts, eds. Michael Grüttner and John Connelly (Paderborn: Ferdinand Schoeningh), pp.39-66. Revised as “Italian Universities during Mussolini’s Regime,” in Michael Grüttner and John Connelly, eds., Universities and Modern Dictatorships (Pennsylvania State Press, 2005), pp. 45-73. 2002.

“Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany: The Dynamics of an Uneasy Relationship,” in Art, Culture, and the Media in the Third Reich, ed. Richard Etlin (Chicago: University of Chicago Press), pp.257-286.

"The Fascist War Trilogy" in Roberto Rossellini: Magician of the Real, eds. D. Forgacs, S. Lutton, and G. Nowell-Smith (London: British Film Institute, 2000).

"Liberation: Film and the Flight from the Italian Past, 1945-1950," in Italian Fascism: History, Memory, and Representation, eds. R. Bosworth and P. Dogliani (New York: St. Martins Press, 1999).

"The Secret Histories of Roberto Benigni’s Life is Beautiful," Yale Journal of Criticism (April 2001).

"The Italian Cinema and the Italian Working-Class," International Labor and Working-Class History (April 2001).

"Envisioning Modernity: Desire and Discipline in the Italian Fascist Film," Critical Inquiry (Autumn 1996).

"Fascism, Writing, and Memory: The Realist Aesthetic in Italy, 1930-1950," Journal of Modern History (September 1995).

"Italian Fascism and the Aesthetics of the Third Way," Journal of Contemporary History (April 1996).


Updated on 09/27/2016