Published On: Tue, Feb 13th, 2018

Mount Holyoke College’s Dr Ombretta Frau includes Trump in her course on Fascism, Mussolini

An Italian class at Mount Holyoke College that studies fascism with a particular focus on the dictatorship of Benito Mussolini has updated its course content to include President Donald Trump.

Dr. Ombretta Frau, who teaches the course at the women’s college, is the former president of the Women’s Studies Caucus of the American Association for Italian Studies.

The Spring semester class  examines literary trends, architecture, activism and visual arts to explore “aspects of twentieth and twenty-first century culture in relation to Benito Mussolini’s Fascist dictatorship,” according to its online course description.

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“From Italian Futurism to today’s Trump administration, we will follow the development of Fascism(s) with some of the authors who lived through it and who narrated their experience,” the course description also states.

The College Fix reached out to Frau, but she declined to comment further except to say “I do not normally discuss my courses with people who are not my students or colleagues. I teach literature, mostly fiction, that was published in Italy during fascist times and later.”

While Frau declined to comment further on the content of her course, she has publicly expressed her disapproval of Trump.

The Fix noted that in a 2016 blog post she wrote for Huffington Post Italy she adamantly supported Hillary Clinton and described Trump as one of “the most disgusting (and violent)” men who can not control their impulses. She confessed that the thought of Trump being president, Americans “tremble, sweat and cry.” She concluded her piece with: “I’m with her. Go Hillary.”

Ruth Ben-Ghiat, a professor of history and Italian studies at New York University, wrote a piece for The Atlantic in August 2016 that stopped short of calling Trump a fascist but did point out perceived similarities.

“Trump is not a Fascist. He does not aim to establish a one-party state. Yet he has created a one-man-led political movement that does not map onto traditional U.S. party structures or behave in traditional ways. This is how Fascism began as well,” Ben-Ghiat wrote.

The piece goes on to compare Mussolini’s rise and personality and supporters with that of Trump’s, and argues Trump has made statements alluding to violence that project his propensity for authoritarianism.

Mount Holyoke College is in South Hadley, Massachusetts.

Mussolini was a vocal atheist, regularly mocking God to strike him dead if He existed. The Italian dictator was responsible for over 400,000 killed during WWII and another 30,000 during the Italian invasion of Ethiopia

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