For the publication of the third issue of the journal (September 2023), Occupied Italy invites all interested to participate in the Call for Abstract on the theme “From the American enemy to the American myth: the USA in the eyes of Italy between the Second World War and the Cold War”.
The Call intends to stimulate reflections on the forms and influences of the phenomenon of Americanism in Italy, from the memory of the Allied occupation up to the years of the Cold War. With the Allied landings, the American myth spread throughout the peninsula, and it was destined to play a central role in the dynamics of the imminent Cold War. Today, several studies, in the historical, political and sociological fields, agree in considering the United States a fundamental actor in the processes of redefinition of Italian national identity after the end of the Second World War and the fall of fascism. The question that we want to explore is: in what forms, ways, and times did the American model influence Italian developments?
The American myth was present in Italy well before the Second World War. In the fascist era it faltered due to vicious propaganda by the regime, particularly during World War II, when the American enemy was portrayed as immoral, materialistic, greedy and predatory. With the landing in Italy of the US army, however, flesh-and-blood Americans looked like anything but enemies in the eyes of the exhausted Italian population, rapidly assuming the connotations of saviors. Thus, the American myth spreads and consolidates, decisively undermining the old prejudices. The rest of the work is done by cultural products, such as films, magazines and music disseminated in the country with planned strategies from the US authorities. From this moment on, the American myth becomes “real”, and accompanies the US model of economic development, based on productivity, consumption and the mass market, which becomes an integral part of the political choices of the Italian ruling class after the war. Through Hollywood productions, Rock and Roll, parcels full of gifts and postcards sent by overseas relatives showing futuristic-looking cities, the dream of the American Way of Life enters the lives of Italians.
However, as powerful as the American myth is, adherence to the US model of development in Italy is not immediate and total. The American model is received with diffidence both on a cultural and economic level and there are significant cultural resistances against it. Thus, it is incorporated into the Italian context through an adaptation to the pre-existing culture, in a process of subsequent, non-linear adjustments. The American myth thus assumes a polarizing nature, with a long-term capacity for action on the political, economic and cultural level, which acts well beyond the post-war period, extending its influence on the entire second half of the Twentieth century.
The third issue of Occupied Italy therefore aims to contribute to a broad and articulated debate, to promote the most recent trends in the historiography on the subject, favoring a multidisciplinary approach and attention to long-term processes and influences of historical phenomena.
Contributions related to the following topics are encouraged (the list is not to be considered exhaustive):
– The USA as enemy and ally: the US occupation forces in the eyes of RSI fighters/Resistance/civilian population; the representation of the US occupation forces in the propaganda of the RSI and the German occupation forces.
– The American Way of Life in Italian society and in the public imagination: transfer of values from the USA to Italy during the conflict and beyond; the evolution of pro-US discourse in the media and in public and political debate between World War II and the Cold War; anti-Americanism and its various forms in wartime and post-war Italy.
– Italy as a “battlefield” of the Cold War: the evolution of the relationship between the Italian and US institutions from the period 1943-1945.
– Influences of the American myth in the transformation of gender representation in Italy after the Second World War.
– The channels and methods of diffusion of the American myth in the Italian and European context (radio, television, press).
– The influences on cultural representation and products: the American myth through literature, cinema and the arts.
– The “Cultural Cold War”: the American myth and the Soviet myth as instruments of the diplomatic and political struggle between the superpowers in Italy.
– The USA as a model for a new Italian liberalism.
Abstracts have to be submitted by March 6, 2023, to the address email@example.com.
The selected authors will have to submit by April 24, 2023 their articles, which will then undergo the process of double blind peer review.
A PDF version of the call can be found here.
Authors’ guidelines for publication can be found here.