Brian Griffith, who earned his PhD in the department in January 2020 and is currently The Eugen and Jacqueline Weber Post-Doctoral Scholar in European History at UCLA, has been awarded the 2021 Society for Italian Historical Studies Article Prize for Modern Italian History for his article in Contemporary European History, “Bacchus among the Blackshirts: Wine Making, Consumerism and Identity in Fascist Italy, 1919-1937.”
The Prize Committee praised the article for being “densely sourced and fostering dialogue between studies in fascism, history of food, consumption studies, and commodity biographies”. They added:
Griffith’s essay shows how wine came to be seen as Italy’s ‘national beverage’. By uncovering the Industrial Wine Lobby’s intensive efforts during the 1920s and 1930s to disassociate wine’s consumption from the lower classes and to associate it with the ‘refined taste’ of the new bourgeois and wealthy classes, the analysis reveals the unknown history of an invented tradition and national heritage. Griffith convincingly shows how Italian regionalism was both affirmed and nationalized at the same time. In doing so, his article urges us to re-conceptualize political agency during fascism in ways that go beyond the binaries of state and society, public and private.
Watch Dr. Amanda Madden and Dr. Griffith discuss his research behind “Bacchus among the Blackshirts,” in the video below:
You can read the full article here.