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Ruth Ben-Ghiat

Professor of Italian , History

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

Office Address: 

Casa mezz.



Personal Homepage:

Areas of Research/Interest: 

Contemporary European international and cultural history; War and Captivity; War and Cinema; World War I & II; Empires and their legacies; Modern and Contemporary Italy; Italian Cinema; Regimes and their aftermaths

Ruth Ben-Ghiat is Professor of History and Italian Studies and an associate researcher at the Institut d’Histoire du Temps Présent. A specialist in 20th century international and cultural history, with Italy a particular focus, she writes on war, including the relationship of war and cinema; empires; and fascist regimes. She is a regular contributor on politics, culture, and history for and The Huffington Post.
Twitter: @ruthbenghiat.
LinkedIn profile:

External Affiliations

Board of Directors, World Policy Institute; 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.


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Winner, Modern Language Association's Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Award for Best Unpublished Manuscript in Italian Studies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 12/10/2015