Foreign Cultural Policy in the Interbellum

The Italian Dante Alighieri Society and the British Council Contesting the Mediterranean

Tamara van Kessel

Foreign Cultural Policy in the Interbellum

Tamara van Kessel

Distributed for Amsterdam University Press

256 pages | 6 halftones | 6 x 9 1/4 | © 2016
Cloth $110.00 ISBN: 9789089648778 Published January 2017 For sale only in the United States, its dependencies, the Philippines, and Canada
This book considers the growing awareness in the wake of World War I that culture could play an effective political role in international relations. Tamara van Kessel shows how the British created the British Council in support of those cultural aims, which took on particular urgency in light of the rise of fascist dictatorships in Europe. Van Kessel focuses in particular on the activities of the British Council and the Italian Dante Alighieri Society in the Mediterranean area, where their respective country's strategic and ideological interests most evidently clashed.
Contents
Introduction
The development of Foreign Cultural Policy
The Allegemeiner Deutscher Schulverein (1881)/ Verein für das Deutschtum im Ausland (1908) and the Deutsche Akademie (1925)
                Uniting the Volksdeutschen
                Accommodating Hitler’s regime
The Alliance Française (1883)
                Mission civilisatrice and France’s new orientation after 1870
                Greater involvement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the impact of the Great War
The Fante Alighieri  Society (1889)
                Italian irredentism, emigration, and national expansion
Effects of the Italo-Turkish War and the First World War
Competition with the Fasci Italiani all’Estero and the Istituti di Cultura Italiana
Intensification of cultural propaganda in the 1930s
The British Council (1934)
Cultural propaganda disavowed
Protecting trade, territory, and democratic tradition
Under the wing of the Foreign Office
Conclusion
The Dante Alighieri Society and the British Council
Agency and Independence
Bridging two centuries: the Fante Alighieri Society
                Risorgimento and freemasonry
From Risorgimento to Fascism: President Paolo Boselli as an icon of continuity
Generational change
Defending the last vestiges of independence
After Boselli
Superseded by the Instituti di Cultura
The British Council: an offshoot of the Foreign Office
Emergence in the age of ‘new diplomacy’
‘Effete’ officials
                Battling for independence from the Ministry of Information
Conclusion
Constructions of ‘Italianita’ and ‘Britishness’
Cultural pilgrimages across the Mediterranean
                Reviving the Roman past and honoring the Fallen Soldiers
                Cultural crusaders and missionaries of modernity
                Italy’s natural claim on the Mediterranean
The promise of a Pax Romana
A Christian soul with a Mediterranean conscience
The projection of Britishness
Format and circulation of Britain To-day and British Life and Thought
Britain and European or World Civilization
Freedom, democracy, and Peace
The harmony of hierarchy
Truth will triumph
Conclusion
The battle for cultural hegemony in Malta
Malta: a chess piece in the Mediterranean
The Dante Alighieri Society in Malta
                Indignation in the Dante’s publications
                Italian civilization in Malta: securing its place in Europe
The British Council in Malta
                Establishing a British institute
                The first Council lecture: self-government and liberty as British heritage
                A blessed Institute: dispelling suspicions of anti-Catholicism
Conclusion
National Culture and Imperial Conquest
The Dante Alighieri Society in Abyssinia and the British Council in Egypt
The Dante Alighieri Society’s imperial dreams in Addis Ababa
                A new Dante Alighieri committee in Addis Ababa
                Caught in practical obstacles
                The launch of the Dante library and of a spiritual mission
Convoluted constructions
Between great expectations and the reality of competing interests
The British Council in Egypt: using the word instead of the sword
                Alarm about Latin dominance
Keeping teachers and children British
Education for Egyption children
A British Institute or an Anglo-Egyptian Society
British Evening Institutes
Calling for the use of new media
Conclusion
Conclusion
Acknowledgements
Bibliography
Index
 
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