I am pleased to announce that my November 2020 article in Contemporary European History, “Bacchus among the Blackshirts: Wine Making, Consumerism and Identity in Fascist Italy, 1919-1937,” has been awarded the 2021 Article Prize for Modern Italian History by the Society for Italian Historical Studies. Below is the award committee’s citation along with a short interview I gave with Dr. Amanda Madden (George Mason University) on my ongoing research on winemaking and identity construction under Italian Fascism.
Award Committee Citation
The committee unanimously and enthusiastically awards the SIHS prize for Modern Italian History to Brian J Griffith for his article ‘Bacchus among the Blackshirts: Wine Making, Consumerism and Identity in Fascist Italy, 1919–1937’ (Contemporary European History, 2020). Densely sourced and fostering dialogue between studies in fascism, history of food, consumption studies, and commodity biographies, 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 reconceptualize political agency during fascism in ways that go beyond the binaries of state and society, public and private.