Antonia Perna (BSR; Durham)
When the French Republican armies invaded the Italian peninsula in 1796, they initiated a period of cultural, as well as political, domination, which extended to the education of the young. This lecture will examine evidence of cultural transfer and cultural imperialism in didactic texts published for children in Napoleonic Italy. Focusing on areas directly annexed to France (including Rome) and the satellite Kingdom of Italy, as well as the so-called ‘sister republics’ of the late 1790s, it will examine how French influence was manifested both in unofficial texts written or translated by enthusiastic patriots at the start of the period, and in schoolbooks later officially selected by the Napoleonic state.
Antonia Perna is Rome Scholar at the British School at Rome. She has recently completed a PhD at Durham University, with a thesis entitled ‘Young Citizens: Children and Childhood in French Revolutionary Politics and Culture’. Her work explores cultural and social aspects of childhood, with a particular focus on its politicisation in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic period.