Ruth Ben-Ghiat is Professor of History and Italian Studies at New York University and a cultural critic who has been the recipient of Guggenheim, Getty, Fulbright, and other fellowships. She writes and speaks frequently on fascism, authoritarian rulers, Donald Trump, and how such leaders use visual propaganda. See The New Yorker and Haaretz features on her work, her essays on Trump for The Atlantic, her Slate History of Fascism podcast, and her CNN.com profile, with her widely circulated columns on what to expect from an authoritarian President. Her most recent pieces address the danger Trump represents for our democracy, the “double game” President Trump plays with all things Jewish, including Holocaust memory, and the relationship between creativity and political crisis.
Ben-Ghiat speaks frequently on these topics to the media, academic, and general audiences (English and Italian), and she’s a concise and cogent on-camera commentator. Watch her weigh in on whether Trump is a fascist, and on strongmen and the media in an Aj Jazeera show on populism from March 2017. Book her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is Trump A Fascist?
Ben-Ghiat grew up in Pacific Palisades, California, where many famous exiles from Nazism relocated. Hearing about their struggles shaped her interest in investigating what happens to societies when authoritarian governments take hold. How do strongmen stay in power, and why do so many people stay loyal to them no matter what they say or do? What are the fates of those who resist? Fascist Modernities (2004, trans. La cultura fascista, 2004) answers these questions, as does her award-winning study of Fascist war propaganda, Italian Fascism’s Empire Cinema (2015).
Her activities as a public intellectual reflect her conviction that the humanities needs ambassadors who can communicate their vital importance in our world today. Historical and critical thinking and visual literacy can help us to decipher our troubling times. She’s participated in public history initiatives in France and America, and created and guest-edited a popular multi-media series for CNN.com for the 100th anniversary of World War One.
Ben-Ghiat has extensive experience in academic administration, with expertise in program building, globalization, and how institutions can address declining humanities enrollments. She chaired the NYU Italian Studies Department from 2005 to 2013, guiding it to become one of the top such departments.
She sits on the Board of Directors of the World Policy Institute, and in 2013 received an Award for Outstanding Service for her work for the Scholar Rescue Fund of the Institute of International Education.
Follow her on Twitter @ruthbenghiat.