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|Title:||Queering Fascism: The Case of Italian Mickey Mouse & Its Others (1928-1957)|
|Abstract:||Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse translated into an unlikely enemy for Italian Dictator Benito Mussolini's fascist regime (1922-1945). Topolino—the Italianized Mickey Mouse comic strip—represented a subversion to fascist conceptions of nation-building that the Ministry of Popular Culture ultimately banned. While there exist analyses of the American comic form as a threat to italianità, there has yet to be a micro-history of Italian Mickey. American Mickey fought the Nazis on secret missions, but Italian Mickey transformed from rodent to human, called Tuffolino, whose brief legacy (1942-1943) provides insight into fascist ideology itself. I read this mouse-turned-propagandist icon through the lens of queer theory, for Mickey was purified of its Italian-American, animal-human “doubleness” and made into an Italian male human. To understand Mickey as a transnational body that has its “humanness” queered by the fascist regime speaks to how fascism attempts to absorb and neutralize what it considers foreign others. Paradoxically, this strategy places the queerness inherent to foreign signifiers at the center of fascism, breaking the regime’s insularity. This micro-history begins with the birth of Mickey in 1928, its sensationalism in Italy, and the copyright battles among the largest Italian publishing houses. I aim to describe the conflict that the mouse represented here: an American patriot who is ethnically global; the fight for publishing houses to legally incorporate the mouse despite their obedience to the regime; the emergence of Tuffolino; and the post-fascist reconstruction of Italian identity that would see Italian-American Mickey’s identity celebrated.|
|Type of Material:||Princeton University Senior Theses|
|Appears in Collections:||History, 1926-2020|
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