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< All Fellows and Scholars

Dr. Ariella Lang

Dr. Ariella Lang
2008-2009 Judith B. and Burton P. Resnick Postdoctoral Fellow

"Mussolini, the Vatican and the Jews: Towards a Culture of Exclusion"

Professional Background

Dr. Ariella Lang is Lecturer in the Department of Italian and Comparative Literature at Barnard College in New York. She received a Ph.D., an M.Phil. and an M.A. in Italian from Columbia University, and a B.A. in romance languages and literature from the University of Chicago. For her Judith B. and Burton P. Resnick Postdoctoral Fellowship, Dr. Ariella Lang conducted research for her project on “Mussolini, the Vatican and the Jews: Towards a Culture of Exclusion.”

Dr. Lang is the author of Converting a Nation: A Modern Inquisition and the Unification of Italy (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2008) as well as several articles including, “La ‘questione ebraica’ dal caso Pasqualigo ai nazionalisti” [The “Jewish Question” from the Pasqualigo Affair to the Nationalists] in editor Mario Isnenghi’s Le ‘Tre Italie’: dalla presa di Roma alla Settimana rossa (1870-1914) (Utet, forthcoming); “Balancing Acts: The Double Edge of Irony in Simone Luzzatto’s Discorso,” in Jewish Social Studies (forthcoming); and “The Politics and Poetics of Vatican Holocaust Discourse” in Judaism (2003). Dr. Lang has received several honors and awards, including a fellowship at the National Endowment of the Humanities Summer Seminar in Venice and an American Association of University Women Dissertation Fellowship. Dr. Lang is fluent in Italian and also has language skills in French, Hebrew, German, Spanish, and Latin.

Fellowship Research

During her tenure at the Center, Dr. Lang researched the relationship between Mussolini and Catholic culture and its connection to his antisemitic program in Italy. She argued that Mussolini turned to religion in his persecution of Jews. This allowed him to tap into a common heritage and culture shared by the Italian people. It also allowed Mussolini to establish an alliance with the Vatican with which he shared a common goal of excluding minority religions from Italian society. To illustrate the connection between the Vatican and Mussolini’s persecution of Jews, Dr. Lang studied the Lateran Treaty of 1929, the portrayal of Jews in fascist and Catholic journals, the rituals and other means of persecution that Mussolini borrowed from Catholicism to develop fascist ceremonies, and literary pieces that clarify how Catholic culture and Italian nationalism converge in the Fascist ventennio.

Dr. Lang was in residence at the Mandel Center from May 1 to July 30, 2009.