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HISTORY 310J: Fascism and Authoritarianism

This course introduces students to the history of fascist and authoritarian movements in modern Europe, from their origins through the post-WWII era. Germany and Italy will serve as central case studies, though the course will consider other examples as well. Through analytical consideration of secondary sources, primary texts, and art as political propaganda, we will interrogate the meanings and applications of these fraught and complex terms, the different forms taken by fascist and authoritarian movements, and their relationship to nationalism, race, religion, gender, and economic and political institutions. Why did millions of Europeans accept -- and even enthusiastically support -- fascist and authoritarian regimes? To what extent was a single, charismatic leader central to the success or failure of such governments? The course will conclude with an opportunity to reflect on the degree to which fascism and authoritarianism are concepts that remain relevant to political discourse in the twenty-first century.
Last offered: Winter 2021
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