Provost's Postdoctoral Fellows Lecture Series - "Conveniently Authoritarian: Valentino, Mussolini, and the Celebrity Culture in 1920s America"

USC Office of Postdoctoral Affairs
image for Provost's Postdoctoral Fellows Lecture Series - 'Conveniently Authoritarian: Valentino, Mussolini, and the Celebrity Culture in 1920s America'
April 22, 2014
6:15 pm
University Park Campus
Leavey Library (Map)
Auditorium
Free Event

In the early 1920s, Hollywood's superstar Rudolph Valentino and Italian dictator Benito Mussolini gained outstanding popularity in America.
Giorgio Bertellini, Associate Professor in the Departments of Screen Arts and Cultures and Romance Languages and Literatures at the University of Michigan is a film historian who primarily works on the transnational destinies of Italian culture in the U.S and Argentina. In the early 1920s, Hollywood's superstar Rudolph Valentino and Italian dictator Benito Mussolini gained outstanding popularity in America. Their fame resonated with a widespread fascination for narratives casting a white, charismatic leading man capable of presiding over a new phenomena often gendered as female: crowds of film fans, political unrest, and an expanded social and political suffrage. Through a close reading of press and archival evidence and in dialogue with both star studies and American political history, his talk seeks to discuss the emergence of an expansive cultural and political discourse that, by relying on the racial and national alterity of these two Italian icons, pragmatically questioned the foundations of democracy against its seemingly mainstream approval.