Mary T. Boatwright & Mia Fuller – Colonial Cities and Imperial Citizens

Tuesday, February 23, 2021–6:00 PM
AAR Zoom
Central European Time
Rome, Italy
Black and white aerial photograph of the Italian city of Littoria, showing buildings, roads, and plazas

The Italian city of Littoria, founded in 1932 by Benito Mussolini, was renamed Latina in 1946

Augustus and other emperors established some 150 colonies in the provinces and Italy itself. Population displacement is but one aspect of the turmoil such settlements incurred. Did such colonies, said “to embody the Roman people’s unparalleled greatness,” contribute to an imperial “Romanitas”? How did their urban forms contribute to making “Roman” the empire’s sixty-million-plus population of differing cultures, languages, and religions, especially given the lag time to actually build such cities?

Mussolini’s regime self-consciously invoked ancient models, not only by staging him as a new Augustus through urban works, but by founding entirely new towns—147 of them in the 1930s. Focusing on the best-known case (the Pontine Marshes reclamation), this conversation will explore parallels and differences across eras. How did the state-driven settlements of Italians from one region to another inspire or discourage senses of citizenship? Were rituals of foundation as important under Fascism as they were in antiquity?

Mary T. Boatwright (2021 Resident) is professor emerita of classical studies at Duke University, and Mia Fuller (1998 Fellow) is the Gladyce Arata Terrill Distinguished [Associate] Professor of Italian Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. The discussion will be moderated by Lynne Lancaster, Andrew W. Mellon Humanities Professor at the American Academy in Rome.

This conversation, to be presented on Zoom, is free and open to the public. The start time is 6:00pm Central European Time (12:00 noon Eastern Time).

The Helen Frankenthaler Foundation is the 2020–21 season sponsor of Conversations/Conversazioni: From the American Academy in Rome.

Watch the video