Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chair(s)

Tammy Proctor


Tammy Proctor


Victoria Grieve


Lynne McNeill


Benito Mussolini constantly portrayed his regime as a protector of nationalism and the ultimate promoter in the re-discovery of Italian culture. The 1930s represent the highest involvement of the regime in cultural activities. Such events had the specific propagandistic goal of ingraining the idea of fascism as a solution to poverty and cultural disunity between north and south. An ongoing theme of propaganda was connecting fascism’s mission to the glory of the Italian past and of its most illustrious protagonists. The Duce and his followers built the idea of a new political establishment that legitimized its rule through a reassertion of the past.

My study displays the regime’s involvement in Sicily as a sponsor of culture and national renovation through the reinterpretation of Italy’s most popular figures. Vincenzo Bellini’s centenary reveals the regime’s plans of achieving national unity between north and south in a culturally and economically divided Italy. With an emphasis on the history of the Risorgimento, I ultimately show the regime’s endeavor in forging cultural unification between north and south through the exaltation of a Sicilian figure. As fascists planned to invade Ethiopia in late 1935, Bellini’s centennial played a critical role in showing the regime’s commitment to modernization and the relevance of Sicily in the creation of a new Italian-Mediterranean empire.



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