Cover of A Political History of National Citizenship and Identity in Italy, 1861–1950 by Sabina Donati
A Political History of National Citizenship and Identity in Italy, 1861–1950
Sabina Donati


424 pages.

Hardcover ISBN: 9780804784511
Ebook ISBN: 9780804787338

Request Review/Desk/Examination Copy


Excerpts and More

Finalist in the 2014 Frances Richardson Keller-Sierra Prize, sponsored by the Western Association of Women Historians.

This book examines the fascinating origins and the complex evolution of Italian national citizenship from the unification of Italy in 1861 until just after World War II. It does so by exploring the civic history of Italians in the peninsula, and of Italy's colonial and overseas native populations. Using little-known documentation, Sabina Donati delves into the policies, debates, and formal notions of Italian national citizenship with a view to grasping the multi-faceted, evolving, and often contested vision(s) of italianità. In her study, these disparate visions are brought into conversation with contemporary scholarship pertaining to alienhood, racial thinking, migration, expansionism, and gender.

As the first English-language book on the modern history of Italian citizenship, this work highlights often-overlooked precedents, continuities, and discontinuities within and between liberal and fascist Italies. It invites the reader to compare the Italian experiences with other European ones, such as French, British, and German citizenship traditions.

About the author

Sabina Donati is Research Associate of the Pierre du Bois Foundation for Current History, Pully, Switzerland.

"Donati presents a valuable study of the complex ideas surrounding Italian citizenship and national identity. Her ability to clearly summarize juridical definitions of citizenship and cultural conceptions about being Italian will benefit readers who are familiar with the evolution of Italian citizenship laws and notions of national identity, as well as those who are new to the nuances of Italian jurisprudence and national self-identification . . . Highly recommended."

—P. Lorenzini, CHOICE

"This book successfully crosses one of the great divides in Italian historiography, that between Liberal and Fascist regimes, in accounting for the development of an Italian national political identity. The scholarship, organization, and theoretical thrust of the book conspire to produce a thoroughly excellent piece of work."

—John Agnew, UCLA

"This book makes particular contributions to women's history, legal history, citizenship studies, comparative nationalism, and an analysis of fascism. Threads of history interweave to present a new understanding—this book is more than the sum of its many parts."

—Mark Choate, Brigham Young University