Future Research


Black Coffee, Blackshirts: Coffee and Its Culture in Mussolini’s Italy

Following the publication of my first monograph, I intend to begin a second book-length project on the history of coffee production, mass marketing, and popular consumption in modern Italy and beyond. Much like pizza, pasta, and wine, coffee is one of the defining features of contemporary Italy’s world-renowned food and beverage cultures. But when, specifically, did this relationship between Italians and their caffè begin to take its current form? To answer this question, this monograph-length project will investigate the period between the turn-of-the-century through the post-World War II decades in order to identify the primary influences, and influencers, behind the shaping of modern Italy’s coffee culture. In addition to exploring the many roles played by Italy’s liberal- and fascist-era colonial conquests in East Africa (and, specifically, Benito Mussolini’s 1935-1936 invasion of Ethiopia, after which coffee consumption skyrocketed within the peninsula), this book will examine the varying strategies employed by industrial lobbying groups, merchants, caffè owners, and, equally as significant, operatives within Il Duce’s dictatorship in the popularization of this, now, quintessentially ‘Italian’ beverage.