Color photograph of the head and shoulders of Ruth Ben-Ghiat, wearing a red-orange top and looking straight into the camera

Ruth Ben-Ghiat

Rea S. Hederman Critic in Residence
May 4–16, 2022
Professor of Italian and History, College of Arts and Sciences, New York University

Ruth Ben-Ghiat is a historian and commentator on authoritarianism and propaganda. A professor of history and Italian studies at New York University, she has received Guggenheim and Fulbright fellowships and serves as an advisor to Protect Democracy. A regular contributor to CNN, MSNBC, and other media outlets, Ben-Ghiat publishes Lucid, a newsletter on threats to democracy. Her latest book, Strongmen: Mussolini to the Present (2020), looks at how illiberal leaders use propaganda, corruption, violence, and machismo—and how they can be defeated.

During her time in Rome, Ben-Ghiat will work on a book about Mussolini and Italian Fascism, doing research at the Central State Archive in EUR. She has lived in Rome at various points of her life, in the Centro Storico, Ostia, Prati, the Vatican, Testaccio, and Monteverde Vecchio, not far from the Academy. “I have come back to Rome many times and found my grounding in the heavy stones of the walls and buildings. Rome is about resilience as well as timeless beauty. I’m looking forward to being there again.”