Marching on Rome: Contesting the Eternal City through the Centuries
Location: Italian Academy, Columbia University, New York City
Date: October 29, 2022
October 23, 2022 marks the centenary of Mussolini’s March on Rome and the Fascist accession to power. Yet the Fascists were not the first, nor the last, to stage a symbolic assault on the Eternal City; indeed, marches on Rome have been a mainstay of Italian political life for centuries. For figures as diverse as Julius Caesar, Cola di Rienzo, Petrarch, Charles V, Giuseppe Garibaldi, Umberto Bossi and Beppe Grillo, the Urbs Caput Mundi has variously served as a prize, a source of inspiration, and a nemesis. Marching on Rome is a tradition since antiquity that has inspired medieval, early modern, and modern versions of this important political ritual.
In its first standalone conference, cosponsored with the Italian Academy at Columbia University, the Society of Italian Historical Studies (SIHS) seeks to investigate Rome’s function as a contested space—both symbolic and physical—across the longue durée of Italian history. Topics may include, but are not limited to:
- Political, cultural and social movements directed “toward” or “against” Rome.
- Rome’s histories of warfare, insurgency, and protest.
- Contests over religion and secularism, and over Rome’s local, national, Mediterranean, and global identities.
- Regionalist and federalist critiques of Rome as a locus of centralized authority and corruption.
The SIHS seeks to foster dialogue and exchange amongst scholars of medieval, early modern and modern Italian history, working across a diverse array of thematic and methodological approaches. We especially welcome proposals from early career scholars in the field.
The SIHS anticipates being able to offer modest subventions for younger and independent scholars in order to facilitate their travel to and from New York City.
Additionally, there will be an opportunity to publish a select number of the conference’s papers via an Open Access journal. Conference presenters will be invited to submit their papers for potential inclusion in a special issue of California Italian Studies, which will be edited by Brad Bouley and Claudio Fogu.