Monuments commemorating historical figures, events, and regimes can be found nearly everywhere, yet we often barely notice them. At other times, though, the histories they represent can inflame passions and the monuments themselves become contentious flashpoints for their communities. Fellow Mia Fuller, associate professor of Italian Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, is a cultural anthropologist who has focused much of her scholarly work on Italy, particularly the rise of fascism in the early twentieth century and its legacies which still remain.
In this podcast, she discusses her new project, which examines the monuments and symbols of Italy’s fascist past that can still be found sprinkled in locales throughout the country—especially in the Pontine Marshes area, where Mussolini’s largest land-reclamation project took place in the 1930s. As Fuller explains, some of these constructions spark outrage while others are quietly accepted elements of the urban landscape. Drawing from the fields of ethnography, memory studies, and Italian history, her research illuminates the interplays of physical space with political power.