Wednesday, October 22nd: Alessio Ponzio

Please join the European History Workshop on Wednesday, October 22nd from 7-9pm for the following paper and discussion:

“Before and after the Balletti Verdi: Premises and Consequences of a Male Homosexual Scandal in 1960 Italy”

Alessio Ponzio
Doctoral Student in History and Women’s Studies
University of Michigan

The paper is available on the European History Workshop CTOOLS site. For a copy of the paper and/or access to the site please contact one of the workshop coordinators.

The event will be held in 2713 Haven Hall.

Dinner will be provided, as usual.

Please find an abstract of the paper below:

“In this paper, by examining magazines and newspapers published in 1960 and 1961, I will argue that, even if homosexuality was already an object of analysis, reflection, and condemnation before the Balletti Verdi scandal, and despite a neo-Fascist attempt to criminalize homosexuality ten months before the scandal burst (January 1960), what happened in Brescia (Lombardy) was a turning point. The scandal compelled “common” Italian people to talk and think about same-sex sexuality and persuaded a member of Parliament to propose the introduction of the most severe anti-homosexual law ever presented in Italy (April 1961). However, the introduction of a law against homosexuality would have made homosexuality even more visible. The Italian government under the Christian Democrats opted for silence, as it opted for silence during the Balletti Verdi scandal. The acceleration of the discursive production about same-sex sexualities caused a homo-hysteria that, apparently, the Democrazia Cristiana wanted to silence. The attitude of the Democrazia Cristiana toward homosexuality needs to be analyzed further. But, we might hypothesize that sinking any attempt to criminalize homosexuality was a way to defend the tolleranza repressiva strategy, to guarantee the supreme power of the Vatican about sexual morality, and to avoid the victimization of the homosexuals, not for Christian empathy, but to cast them into a harmless oblivion.”