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Art, History & National Rhetoric

The 2023-24 colloquium looks back on the history of fascism in the twentieth century, with a particular focus on the way in which an aestheticized national imaginary was used as the guiding rhetoric of the Nazi party. Click here to watch the events

The 2023-24 colloquium, Art, History and the Rhetoric of National Greatness, began with a screening of Good Morning Mr. Hitler which features color footage of a public event designed to celebrate 2,000 years of German cultural history and includes interviews with participants of the parade and their retrospective thoughts in their celebration of the German Reich. Using this film as a starting point, the programs explored how the Nazi party and other radical movements have utilized the fetishization of the past to violently erase those out of compliance with their retroactive national norm. We examine historical artifacts as representations–visual art, film, and literature–and how the iconography of these ideologies and their eras has found afterlives in neo-fascist coalitions. This resurgence of an ethos that romanticizes the past is not only present in radical circles, but has spread to the legislative branches of government, determining local, state, and national policy.

The colloquium was organized by the 2023-24 KHC-NEH Faculty Fellows, Dr. Kathleen Alves, Associate Professor of English, and Dr. Aliza Atik, Associate Professor of English, at Queensborough Community College-CUNY.