International fellowship success for Reading doctoral researcher

One of our AHRC-funded doctoral researchers, Ilaria Poerio [PhD – Italian Studies], has been successful in securing an International Placement Scheme (IPS) fellowship. For a period of three months, Ilaria will be conducting research at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. The Library of Congress serves as the research arm of the United States Congress and is the country’s oldest federal cultural institution. This placement therefore represents a wonderful opportunity.


Ilaria’s research focuses on internal confinement during the fascist regime. She explains how this placement will enhance her research:

“From 1926 to 1943, 13,000 Italians were interned within 262 camps. My thesis addresses not only the legal framework that allowed this form of repression, but also the detainees’ experience. A focused analysis on the daily life of confinement will reveal the intense cultural and political development that represented a crucial part in the self-identity building process. Through the analysis of the regime’s repressive capability, and in particular of the institution of confino, new keys can be found to depict and to interpret several instances of antifascism in Italy and confined antifascism’s real potential in organizing and cultivating new forms of dissent.

This goal will be also pursued by looking at connections developed by antifascists in Italy and the Antifascism in exile. There are strong clues that there were relations and that political information spread over the Atlantic, linking the two sides of the Italian Fascism opponents in and out of the country. The Anarchism Collection, stored at the Library of Congress will provide interesting inputs regarding the Italian antifascist propaganda activities in the USA, while the Italian Captured Documents Collection (1925-1945) offers information regarding the Italian communists’ activities into the country. Both collections will be enlightening in addressing the extent to which detainees were part of a wider, transnational network of antifascist operators, mapping their connections, as well as documenting the extent to which the experience of confinement was debated in anti-fascist Italian circles and represented in their propaganda”.

Ilaria Poerio is supervised by Professor Christopher Duggan and Dr Daniela La Penna.

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