Visualizing Fascism argues that fascism was not merely a domestic menace in a few European nations, but arose as a genuinely global phenomenon in the early twentieth century. Contributors use visual materials to explore fascism's populist appeal in settings around the world, including China, Japan, South Africa, Slovakia, Spain, and elsewhere. This visual strategy allows readers to see the transnational rise of the right as it fed off the agitated energies of modernity and mobilized shared political and aesthetic tropes. This volume also considers the postwar aftermath as anti-fascist art forms were depoliticized and repurposed in the West. More commonly, analyses of fascism focus on Italy and Germany alone and on institutions like fascist parties, but that approach truncates our understanding of the way fascism was indebted to colonialism and internationalism with all their attendant grievances and aspirations. Using photography, graphic arts, architecture, monuments, and film—rather than written documents alone—produces a portable concept of fascism, useful for grappling with the upsurge of the global right a century ago—and today.
Contributors. Nadya Bair, Paul D. Barclay, Ruth Ben-Ghiat, Maggie Clinton, Geoff Eley, Lutz Koepnick, Ethan Mark, Bertrand Metton, Lorena Rizzo, Julia Adeney Thomas, Claire Zimmerman
“In a volume of instructive and newly timely essays, we learn that about the key role played by the circulation of people and the visual culture they made in constructing fascism's global imaginary of interconnectedness. From the 1920s to the 1950s, fascist visuality in Asia and Europe brought the intimacies of everyday life and the realm of mass spectacle together in a variety of forms. Moving beyond the usual subjects of Futurism and Leni Riefenstahl, the volume expands the visual repertoire of the period's politicized visual field as it reintroduces readers to its contested grounds.”
Vanessa R. Schwartz, Director, Visual Studies Research Institute, University of Southern California