Main Researcher: Prof. Mark F. Gilbert

The aim of this project is to examine the emergence of Italian democracy between 1943 and 1963. Italy is a fascinating case study of a country that successfully made the transition from Fascism to parliamentary democracy during years of great international tension. The project is interested in studying Italy's transition to democracy from the perspective of constitutional, intellectual and party political history, but it will also integrate social history perspectives and the history of women. Italian democratization depended on the parallel construction of the foundations of the project of greater European economic cooperation. Italy's role in the first decade of European integration is accordingly an important feature of the project. An important aspect of the project is to build bridges between SAIS Europe and Italian scholars and researchers. The project was inaugurated on 23rd June 2022.

Patrick McCarthy was a scholar whose interests spanned literature, the politics of post-war Italy, France and Germany, intellectuals and politics, and the political culture of modern Italy. It seemed fitting, therefore, to ask the McCarthy Fund to finance part of the costs of this workshop, which was a notable academic success.

As Professor emeritus John Harper, discussant in the first session, observed "He would have loved it". There are two reasons for this. First, the subject matter. The group discussed the political economy of the early years of Italian democracy, the role of Christian Democracy, the debates of intellectuals, and the role of Italy in the formative years of the Cold War and of European integration. Second, the fact that SAIS Europe acted as an intellectual hub within Italy. The speakers included some of the best-known contemporary political historians in Italy, but also some promising young scholars, who were delighted to have their work recognized by an invitation to SAIS. CCSDD and the main researcher of this project Prof. Mark Gilbert strongly believe that we should not forget that our school is based in Italy, and in Europe, and must make ourselves an integral part of the scholarly community around us.

The co-organizer of the workshop was Prof. Daniele Pasquinucci of the University of Siena. Prof. Pasquinucci is one of Italy's most distinguished historians of European integration. The aim of this project is for this workshop to be the first of several (to be hosted by Siena and the University of Rome La Sapienza, as well as SAIS) and for it to lead to publications in both Italian and English.

Event Program

Event Summary


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