UCSB’s The Current on My Interwar Crisis Course
Recently, I sat down with Jim Logan at University of California, Santa Barbara’s news and announcements blog, The Current, to discuss my current summer course, “Interwar Crisis: Europe, 1918-1939.” We talked about my motivations for teaching this particular course, especially in light of recent events in Europe and the United States, as well as my experimental course blog which, as he aptly phrases it, “lets students learn — and teach — about Europe’s interwar decades (1918-1939)”.

Fulbright Research Grant
I am pleased to announced that I have been awarded a 2018-2019 Fulbright Research Grant to Italy. During my year in Rome, I will be consulting source materials at a number of archives and libraries, conducting interviews with winemakers, completing my dissertation’s remaining chapters, volunteering periodically in the vineyards of Rome’s nearby castelli romani winemaking region, and delivering a public lecture at the International Library, “La Vigna” in Vicenza.

Personal Statement:

Brian J Griffith is a Ph.D. Candidate in modern Italian history at University of California, Santa Barbara. His research interests include modern Europe, modern Italy, Fascism, consumerism, (trans)national identities, and the Digital Humanities. Brian is currently completing a dissertation on winemaking, consumerism, and identity construction in interwar Italy titled Bacchus’ Blackshirt: Winemaking and Making Italians in Fascist Italy.

Dissertation Title:

Bacchus' Blackshirt: Winemaking and Making Italians in Fascist Italy


Selected Publications:


Teaching Fields:

  • Modern European Cultural and Intellectual History
  • Modern Italy
  • Food History
  • Consumer Cultures
  • Digital and Public History
  • World History (1700 to the Present)


Courses Taught:

  • HIST 123B: Interwar Crisis: Europe, 1918-1939
    Summer 2018
  • HIST 123B: Modern European Cultural and Intellectual History
    Summer 2015
  • Co-taught with Claudio Fogu, INT 184CF: The Digital Turn in Historical Culture
    Winter 2015
  • HIST 99: Undergraduate Research Assistantship
    Spring 2013


Awards & Professional Activities:

  • Fulbright Research Grant
    Institute of International Education / 2018-2019
  • Brython Davis Endowment Graduate Fellowship
    Graduate Division / University of California, Santa Barbara / Spring 2017
  • Graduate Humanities Research Fellowship
    University of California, Santa Barbara / Spring 2016
  • Dick Cook Memorial Award
    History Department / University of California, Santa Barbara / Spring 2015
  • Humanities & Social Sciences Research Grant
    University of California, Santa Barbara / Spring 2014


Dissertation Project:

Bacchus’ Blackshirt: Winemaking and Making Italians in Fascist Italy
My dissertation examines the multifarious roles played by winemaking and popular grape and wine consumption within the Italian dictatorship’s objective of “making Italians” during the interwar years.


Digital Volume:

Sorella fascista: The Collected Papers of Ruth Williams Ricci

Ruth Williams Ricci – a Fascist sympathizer from New York City who served both as a volunteer nurse in the Italian Red Cross and, later, as a freelance journalist during the Second Italo-Ethiopian War – toured throughout East and North Africa, participated in or witnessed many of Fascist Italy’s military and colonial campaigns, and had personal contacts among the regime’s highest generals and officials. Once completed, this “digital volume” will feature the (un)published book chapters, essays, speeches, and letters that Ricci composed between 1935 and 1941 in defense of both Fascism and Italian colonialism for a largely American readership. Additionally, the volume will feature a range of other relevant primary sources, such as transcripts of Ricci’s recently discovered FBI files and documents from Fascist Italy’s Ministry of Popular Culture pertaining to Ricci’s pro-Italian propaganda campaigns in Italy and the United States. Finally, the volume will include a variety of digital tools and resources, such as interactive maps of Ricci’s travels, a comprehensive timeline, and a photo gallery, each of which will serve as “portals” into the collection of Ricci’s writings. Following contemporary trends in Digital History, the volume’s resources will be hyperlinked together as a “web” of connectivity and interactivity, allowing the reader to move seamlessly, and in a non-linear fashion, between interactive companion resources, primary source documents, and secondary (or editorial) vignettes.


Miscellaneous Links:

  • Brian J Griffith
    My professional website features my up-to-date Curriculum Vitae, research interests and current/future projects, teaching experience and philosophy, and miscellaneous resources pertaining to the study of modern Italian history.