Franco Baldasso is Director of the Italian Program and Study Abroad Program in Italy at Bard College, NY, where he is Assistant Professor of Italian. In his research he examine the complex relations between Fascism and Modernism, the legacy of political violence in Italy, and finally the idea of the Mediterranean in modern and contemporary aesthetics.
He authored a book on Holocaust survivor Primo Levi, Il cerchio di gesso. Primo Levi narratore e testimone (Bologna, 2007) and co-edited an issue of Nemla-Italian Studies titled “Italy in WWII and the Transition to Democracy: Memory, Fiction, Histories.”
He contributes to publicbooks.org, and is a member of the Advisory Board of the Italian journal Allegoria, as well as the scientific committee of the Archivio della Memoria della Grande Guerra of the Centro Studi sulla Grande Guerra “P. Pieri” in Vittorio Veneto (TV). He is currently revising his book manuscript titled: “Democracy and Defeat: Literary Dissent during the Transition to Post-Fascism in Italy.”
His talk focuses on Curzio Malaparte's works Kaputt and The Skin and especially his critical appraisal of the tragic contrast between modern technology and the fragility of creaturely life. In his WWII novels, Malaparte depicts an irredeemable conflict through Christological allegories of scapegoating deployed from a radically secular perspective, resisting any historical progress or any dialectical superior solution.