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Final University of Reading public lecture takes an in-depth look at Fascism – University of Reading

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Final University of Reading public lecture takes an in-depth look at Fascism

Release Date 28 February 2007

The final University of Reading Public lecture will take an in-depth look at Fascism and living under the dictator Mussolini – marking the end of our most successful public lecture series yet.

Mussolini expert and University of Reading lecturer Professor Richard Bosworth – an expert on Fascism and the author of many books on the subject – will talk on how Italians lived under a Fascist dictatorship.

His examples will run from bee-keepers and pigeon-fanciers, to those anxious and willing to use poison gas - the choice 'weapon of mass destruction' at the time.

Professor Bosworth said: "'This lecture will deal with such people as a drunken builder's labourer named Boccaccio and a king who liked his wife's blackberry jam. Also featuring will be a dictator finding ways to celebrate 10 years in 'power', another more radical Fascist who plagiarised his law thesis and some bee-keepers from Trento with a priest called Dante."

Professor Bosworth, one of the world's leading authorities on twentieth-century Italian history, lectures in History at the University of Reading as a visiting professor, and combines this with a professorship at the University of Western Australia.

After a PhD. at Cambridge, Professor Bosworth taught European History between 1969 and 1986 at the University of Sydney. Since 1987, he has been at the University of Western Australia, where he holds a chair. He has been a Visiting Fellow at a number of institutions, including the Italian Academy at Columbia University, Clare Hall, Cambridge, Balliol College, Oxford, and the Humanities Research Centre in Canberra. Most recently his visiting positions have been at the University of Trento in 2004 and All Souls College, Oxford in 2004-5.

The lecture is entitled 'Living Under Totalitarianism – the Italians and the Mussolini dictatorship'. The word totalitarian originated in 1920s Italy after Benito Mussolini's rise to power.

This is the sixth and final public lecture of this very successful series, and the lectures are free to attend and no ticket is required; please be aware they are extremely popular and space is limited, so please arrive well in advance and allow plenty of time for parking. Large groups should alert the organiser in advance.

Professor Bosworth's lecture will be held on Tuesday March 6 2007, in the Palmer Building at Whiteknights Campus, at 8pm. It is expected to last for approximately 40 minutes and afterwards time is allowed so the audience may comment and ask questions, giving a real chance for people to get involved and make the most of their evening.

The lecture is free to attend and no ticket is required.

For further information, please visit the public lecture series website or contact Alison Fabian in the University's Communications Office on 0118 378 7110 or email Alison at


Notes to Editors:

For media enquiries only, please contact Lucy Ferguson, the University's senior press officer on 0118 378 7388 or

Professor Bosworth is the author of numerous books on Fascism and Mussolini. These include: 'Mussolini' (Arnold, 2002) and, with special reference to this lecture, 'Mussolini's Italy: Life under the Dictatorship' (Allen Lane/Penguin, 2005-6). A short book entitled 'Nationalism' is due out with Pearson in April 2007.

The University of Reading is one of the foremost research-led universities in the UK. Founded in the nineteenth century and gaining a Royal Charter in 1926, we offer a wide range of programmes from the pure and applied sciences to languages, social sciences and fine art. New research and the latest thinking continually feed into undergraduate teaching, with our academic staff working at the forefront of their fields of expertise. For further information visit the University of Reading website

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