I am Diana Garvin, an Assistant Professor of Mediterranean Studies in the Department of Romance Languages at the University of Oregon. I did my postdoctoral research at the American Academy in Rome as the 2017-2018 Rome Prize winner for Modern Italian Studies. Garvin’s research examines the history of everyday life across Fascist Italy and Italian East Africa. In my book, Feeding Fascism: The Politics of Women’s Food Work, I use food as a lens to examine daily negotiations of power. My most recent publications, “Constructing Race Through Commercial Space: Merkato Ketema under Fascist Urban Planning,” and “Reproductive Health Care from Fascism to Forza Nuova” are forthcoming with the Journal of Modern Italian Studies and Signs. My last article, “Singing Truth to Power: Melodic Resistance and Bodily Revolt,” in Annali d’italianistica, was awarded the 2017 WCSA Russo and Linkon Award for Best Article. This essay uses women’s work songs to investigate the history of birth control and abortion practices by migrant field workers. Critical Inquiry published another article “Taylorist Breastfeeding in Rationalist Clinics: Constructing Industrial Motherhood in Fascist Italy,” in their Spring 2015 volume.
I am currently at work on my second project, The Bean in the Machine. This book investigates the history of coffee culture across three continents during the Fascist ventennio (1922-1945.) By using the transnational framework of coffee, from the bean in the field to the machine in the caffè, Diana connects interwar histories that previously been explored independently. By untangling the interwar trade of beans and bodies between Italy, Brazil, and East Africa, this project brings to light an untold story of caffeinated imperial aggression and resistance. This project is currently supported by the Gastronomy Collection of the Getty Research Library and by the University of Oregon Presidential Fellowship in Humanistic Studies.
My favorite Italian proverb is “O mangi questa minestra o salti dalla finestra,”Eat this soup or jump out the window.”