Rhiannon Evangelista is currently working on a book manuscript entitled Fascists after Fascism: Mussolini’s Ministers in Democratic Italy, 1943-1970. It answers fundamental questions for our understanding of states transitioning to democracy: what fate awaits ministers of defunct dictatorships if they escape violent retribution and weather legal sanctions? Do they return to normal life or face ostracization? Using Italy after World War II as a case study, Evangelista analyzes the social networks, published writings, and political activities of six former Fascist government ministers in the first twenty-five years of Italy’s democratic Republic. For these men, their pasts as powerful Fascists usually helped rather than hindered their post-Fascist lives. Social convention, interpersonal relationships, and the commonality of ex-Fascist and popular views of the dictatorial past enabled ex-Fascists to carve a space for themselves in the economic, political, and cultural life of democratic Italy.
Her publications include “The particular kindness of friends: ex-Fascists, clientage and the transition to democracy in Italy, 1945–1960,” Modern Italy 20 (4), Nov 2015 (winner of the 2015 Christopher Seton Watson Prize for the best article published in Modern Italy), and “Was Fascism Primarily a Modernizing, Revolutionary Movement?” in Patrick G Zander, The Rise of Fascism: History, Documents, and Key Questions, Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2016.