HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology:  two articles (both in Italian and French) on the Italian folklorist Paolo Toschi.

Coppola, Maurizio, 2021. “Paolo Toschi et le folklore italien : vies parallèles” [Transl.: “Paolo Toschi and Italian Folklore: Parallel Lives”], in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

Coppola, Maurizio, 2021. “Paolo Toschi, entre Benedetto Croce et Benito Mussolini. Une histoire du folklore italien pendant le fascisme” [Transl.: “Paolo Toschi between Benedetto Croce and Benito Mussolini. A History of Italian folklore during Fascism”], in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

Despite being a little-known figure internationally, Paolo Toschi (1896-1974) occupies a prominent place in the history of Italian anthropology, particularly in the field of folklore. Coppola devotes two complementary articles to him. The first outlines Toschi’s life and work, particularly his studies on folk poetry and theatre in Italy and Europe. Toschi’s contribution to the institutional, namely academic recognition of folklore as an academic discipline – which he termed “history of folk traditions” – was fundamental. He also contributed to the foundation of the Museo Nazionale di Tradizioni Popolari in Rome. At the end of the 1940s, he took over the direction of the journal Lares, a position he occupied until his death. Based on a thorough archival survey, the second article focuses on a dark period in the history of the discipline in Italy, when Fascism took folklore studies by storm. In search of institutional support for the development of this field of research, Toschi attempted a rapprochement with political visions as opposed as those of liberal philosopher Benedetto Croce or of Benito Mussolini himself. Toschi and the Duce shared common Romagna origins. In short, the Italian folklorist frequented intellectual and literary circles that rallied to Fascism. Toschi’s biography allows us to understand the institutionalization of folklore in Italy and its complex connections to nation-building before, during, and after Fascism.

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