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Joshua Arthurs


Teaching Fields

  • Modern Italy, western and southern Europe
  • Memory and the politics of historical representation
  • Comparative fascisms and authoritarian regimes
  • Violence, war and political transitions


  • Ph.D., University of Chicago, 2007
  • M.A., University of Chicago, 1999
  • B.A., Wesleyan University, 1997

Research Interests

Dr. Arthurs is a cultural, intellectual and social historian of twentieth-century Italy and Europe. His research focuses on problems of commemoration, conflict, political culture and everyday life during the Fascist period. He also a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome.

His current project, Forty-Five Days: Experience, Emotion and Memory after Mussolini, explores everyday experiences during the immediate aftermath of the Fascist regime in 1943. In looking at this moment of upheaval and transition, he seeks to understand three overlapping problems: first, what the regime’s collapse revealed about the internal functioning and daily realities of life under a dictatorship; second, what conflicts and challenges confronted a society emerging from two decades of authoritarian rule; and third, how the dynamics of regime change have shaped subsequent memories and legacies. To this end, he is exploring case studies in retributive and ritual violence; revolutionary iconoclasm and damnatio memoriae; and denunciations and communal protest.

He is also co-editor, with Michael Ebner and Kate Ferris, of The Politics of Everyday Life in Fascist Italy: Outside the State? (Palgrave MacMillan, 2017). This volume draws its inspiration  from Alltagsgeschichte (the history of everyday life), exploring the extent and limits of Fascism’s “totalitarian” grasp and the ways in which ordinary Italians variously embraced, rejected, avoided or appropriated the regime’s aggressive overtures.

His first book, Excavating Modernity: The Roman Past in Fascist Italy (Cornell UP, 2012), looks at the intersection of ideology, history and archeology, and romanità under Mussolini’s regime. Across a series of case studies – in historical scholarship, urban archaeology and museum display – he explores the ways in which intellectuals approached the Eternal City as a blueprint for Fascist modernity, a source of dynamic values to be realized in the present, and a model for imperial conquest.

For more information on his research, please visit his homepage or his profile on

Courses Offered

  • HIST 102: Western Civilization since 1600
  • HIST 209: Twentieth-Century Europe
  • HIST 314: France since 1750
  • HIST 331: Italy since 1800
  • HIST 393: Soccer in the Modern World
  • HIST 417: World War II in Europe
  • HIST 423: History of Fascism
  • HIST 484: Undergraduate Capstone – European Conflicts since 1870
  • HIST 693: History and Memory
  • HIST 700: Historiography
  • HIST 717/718: Graduate Readings/Research in Modern European History
  • HIST 795: Independent Studies in Modern Italian and European History



The Politics of Everyday Life in Fascist Italy: Outside the State? (co-edited with Michael Ebner and Kate Ferris, Palgrave MacMillan, 2017).

Excavating Modernity: The Roman Past in Fascist Italy (Cornell University Press, 2012).

Journal Articles:

“The Anatomy of Controversy, from Charlottesville to Rome.” Modern Italy 24.2 (2019), 123-138.

“Settling Accounts: Retribution, Emotion and Memory during the Fall of Mussolini.” Journal of Modern Italian Studies 20.5 (2015), 617-639.

”’Voleva essere Cesare, morì Vespasiano’: The Afterlives of Mussolini’s Rome.” Civiltà Romana. Rivista pluridisciplinare di studi su Roma antica e le sue interpretazioni 1 (2015), 283-302.

“The Excavatory Intervention: Archaeology and the Chronopolitics of Roman Antiquity in Fascist Italy.” Journal of Modern European History 13.1 (2015), 44-58.

“The Eternal Parasite: Anti-Romanism in Italian Politics and Culture since 1870.” Annali d’Italianistica Vol. 28, 2010: 117-136.

“Roma Sparita: Local Identity, Memory and Modernity in Fascist Rome”. Città e Storia Vol. 3, no.1-2, 2008: 189-200.

Chapters in Edited Volumes:

“Bathing in Eternal Rome: The Mostra Augustea della Romanità,” in Brill’s Companion to the Classics, Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, eds. Helen Roche and Kyriakos Demetriou (Brill, 2017), 157-177.

“Combattere ‘l’altro’ dopoguerra: conflitto sociale nel Mezzogiorno, 1943-1944,” in Oltre il 1945. Violenza, conflitto sociale, ordine pubblico nell’Europa del dopoguerra, eds. Camilla Poesio, Enrico Acciai, Guido Panvini and Toni Rovatti (Viella, 2017), 33-48.

“Memory,” in The Politics of Everyday Life in Fascist Italy: Outside the State?, 205-232.

“Introduction,” with Michael Ebner and Kate Ferris, in The Politics of Everyday Life in Fascist Italy: Outside the State?, 1-17.

“Il fascismo come ‘eredità’ nell’Italia contemporanea” in Andrea Mammone, Giuseppe Veltri and Nicola Tranfaglia, eds., Un paese normale? Saggi sull’Italia contemporanea. Baldini Castoldi Dalai, 2011: 209-232.

“Fascism as Heritage in Contemporary Italy,” in Andrea Mammone and Giuseppe Veltri, eds., Italy Today: The Sick Man of Europe. Routledge, 2010: 114-127.

“(Re)Presenting Roman History in Italy, 1911-1955,” in Claire Norton, ed., Nationalism, Historiography and the (Re)Construction of the Past. New Academia Press, 2007: 27-41.

Vivere il fascismo: politica e vita quotidiana durante il regime” in Il fascismo italiano. Storia e interpretazioni, ed. Giulia Albanese (Carocci, 2021), 237-253.

Grants and Awards

  • Caperton Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Writing, WVU Foundation, 2020
  • Faculty Fellow, WVU Honors College, 2017
  • Outstanding Researcher, Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, 2016
  • Rome Prize in Modern Italian Studies, American Academy in Rome, 2016
  • Outstanding Teacher, WVU Foundation, 2015
  • Outstanding Teacher, Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, 2015
  • WV Humanities Council Fellowship, 2015
  • Research Grant, WVU Faculty Senate, 2012
  • Riggle Fellowship in the Humanities, Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, 2011
  • Ezio Cappadocia Dissertation Prize, Society for Italian Historical Studies, 2007
  • Research Fellowship, The Wolfsonian, 2005
  • Doolittle-Harrison Fellowship, University of Chicago, 2004
  • Von Holst Prize in History, University of Chicago, 2004
  • Bessie Hyde Pierce Prize in History, University of Chicago, 2003
  • Research Fellowship, Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2002
  • Research Fellowship in Roman Studies, Fondazione Lemmermann, 2002