Franco Orlandi

In the name of Lombroso. Mario Carrara and the refusal of the 1931 fascist loyalty oath

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Antifascism; Mario Carrara; University of Turin (20th cent.); Cesare Lombroso; Scientific freedom

This article reconstructs how Mario Carrara (1866-1937), professor of Forensic Medicine and lecturer in Criminal Anthropology at the University of Turin, responded to the fascist loyalty oath imposed upon all Italian university professors in 1931 and offers a new interpretation of his refusal, which led to his dismissal from his teaching post in 1932. The originality of this work lies in its situating Carrara’s refusal within the history of academic norms and virtues, showing to what extent Carrara’s conception of scholarly selfhood informed his decision not to swear allegiance to the fascist regime. Drawing on previously unknown archival sources and a large body of scholarly obituaries, this study argues that Carrara did not pledge allegiance to the Regime so as to stay true to his ideal of scholarship and science, an ideal that had been heavily shaped by the figure of his maestro Cesare Lombroso. This conclusion seems to challenge previous historiographical assumptions about the legacy of Lombroso in the fascist era.

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