Academic year
2023/2024 Syllabus of previous years
Official course title
Course code
LM6390 (AF:381046 AR:249927)
On campus classes
ECTS credits
Degree level
Master's Degree Programme (DM270)
Educational sector code
1st Semester
Course year
Go to Moodle page
European Political History contributes to the overall MA course goals as a "characterising" second-year course for the European Union Studies curriculum. As such, it requires students to have attended, in the first year, History of International relations and History of European constitution, as well as to possess a basic knowledge of Contemporary History (6 CFU) acquired in their BA course. Building on the above-mentioned basis, it approaches political history in terms of the history of political cultures and ideas; its subject matter is the genealogical survey of the European right, with a focus on interwar Fascism, its origins, and its legacy. In this perspective, key political concepts will be understood in their historical context; their antecedents will be traced back in history, and their bequest will be tracked down across the decades; at the end of the course, students are expected to have enhanced their critical awareness of the historical roots of some of today's main political concerns.
At the end of the course the following learning outcomes are expected by students:
The ability to critically read a source analysed in class, and to connect it critically to the historical and cultural context;
The ability to understand the relationship between historical, political and cultural phenomena, and to operate a form of critical conceptualization;
The ability to critically locate in time and space the historical roots of the issues dealt with in class, in particular: democracy and anti-democracy, Fascisms and the thinking of the European right;
The critical knowledge of major historiographic interpretations of phenomena and the ability to compare them in relation to the context
As for practical and communicative skills, students are expected to have developed:
The ability to interact actively and profitably with the lessons and especially with the comments and analysis of texts;
The ability to present effectively, personally and appropriately the topics, during the oral exam.
The selection of topics of particular interest is encouraged, in order to be further researched for the final dissertation.
Pre-requirements for this course are to have attended History of International Relations and History of European Constitution, as well as to have passed a 6 CFU exam in Contemporary history in the BA program, as required for the enrollment in the MA degree course.
The course investigates the historical roots of the European right. The disciplinary approach is the history of political cultures, understood in the context of contemporary history. Three issues will be addressed:
-The case study of Italian Fascism compared with interwar European fascisms;
- The genealogies of democracy and anti-democracy since the French Revolution to the mid-XXth Century: organicism, nationalism, imperialism, antisemitism, racism ;
- Postwar: Individualism, Inequality, Cold war and neo-liberal thought; Neo-fascism and new Right.
A detailed outline of the contents, method and timetable of classes will be presented at the beginning of the course.
Referral texts for attending and non-attending students.

Attending students will study a selection of articles uploaded in Moodle. The selection will be made available during the semester.

Non-attending students will NOT study the selection of articles in Moodle, but will study instead:
-Zeev Sternhell, Introduction to The Anti-Enlightenment Tradition, Yale University Press, 2020;
- Federico Finchelstein, From Fascism to Populism in History, University of California Press, 2017
- J.W. Mueller, Contesting Democracy. Political Ideas in Twentieth Century Europe, Yale University Press, 2013.
The exam includes an oral presentation of 10-15 minutes on a topic dealt with in class, based on texts agreed with the teacher during office hours. The presentation will take place at the end of the course, during class, and will be worth about half the final grade. The exam is an oral interview of 20 minutes with at least two questions answered, to prove the achievement of the above-mentioned didactical purposes. More specifically, the first question checks the mastery of a well-defined topic’s outline, the ability to frame it in its historical background, and to express oneself clearly and effectively; the second question checks the command of advanced historical notions, the proficiency in operating interrelations among them and the ability to conceptualise. When necessary (in particular for non-attendants, who are not supposed to perform the oral presentation) the third question checks the ability to analyse and comment on sources and historiographical documents.
The course is constituted by academic lectures combined with seminar lessons. All sources and documents analysed during classes will be uploaded on Moodle.
Please consider that this is a "slides-free" course: that is, slides that summarise the main concepts dealt with in class will not be provided. One reason is that the skill of taking class notes is a highly specialised but underrated one, and MA students are thus encouraged to practise it. The other reason is that texts and sources will be presented and commented upon during classes, and students are warmly invited to actively participate with their contributions, instead of relying on pre-assembled outlines.
At the end of the course, students interested in one of the topics addressed in class are welcome to ask for an appointment to agree upon a subject suitable for the MA thesis
Definitive programme.
Last update of the programme: 18/03/2023