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Professor Aristotle Kallis

Formerly at Lancaster University

PhD supervision

Aristotle Kallis would be very interested in supervising students with interests in the following broad fields:

fascism and totalitarianism

modern propaganda

violence, genocide, terrorism

urban studies

German and Italian history/politics

Greek interwar history

modern and contemporary 'political religions'

Current Teaching

HIST232: Nationalism and genocide in twentieth-century Europe

HIST233: The making of the 'totalitarian city'

HIST452: Research modern history

Research overview

My main research interests are situated in three main fields:

  1. the study of extremism, with particular emphasis on interwar fascism (generic concept and comparison of case-studies) and the contemporary extreme/populist right. I am particularly interested in the ideological foundations of extremist discourses, the dynamics and patterns of their diffusion, as well as their ‘mainstreaming’ effect (namely, effect on ‘mainstream’ political parties and social attitudes);
  2. the forces behind the facilitation and radicalisation of mass violence in a comparative, global context;
  3. totalitarian regimes, modernism, and the urban environment, with the main focus on Fascist Rome but also interests in the study of interwar Berlin and Moscow. 

Current Research

I am currently working on three projects:

Fascist Rome (1922-43). This project, which combines urban, cultural and intellectual history, examines the way in which Fascism attempted to re-create 'space' and symbolism in Rome with a view to transforming the city as a statement of its universal(ist) project - in other words, as the symbolic 'sacred' space of a universal fascist 'political religion'. It analyses the Fascist regime's universalist intentions (placed in a wider framework of urbanistic debates, both inside Italy and across Europe/ the world) and examines the extent to which they were translated into practice in the two decades of Fascist rule.Research for the project has been funded by the British Academy (2007-08). A research monograph (titled Rome, 1922-43: the making of the fascist capital) is expected to be published in 2012 (Palgrave Macmillan).

Fascism, 'fascist regime', and 'para-fascism'. This project has evolved in the context of a partnership of thirteen international scholars, with two research workshops organised by Antonio Costa Pinto and myself in Lisbon (October 2009, February 2011). We are currently editing a collective volume that deals with the dynamics of the diffusion (and adaptation) of ‘fascist’ ideas and practices (pioneered in Fascist Italy and/or National Socialist Germany) across Europe during the 1920s/1930s; and the complex hybridisation that occurred at the time between fascist regimes and authoritarian dictatorships. Publication of this volume (to which I will also contribute a detailed, comparative theoretical chapter) is expected in late 2012.

Authority, 'licence', and 'spaces of violence': on the dynamics of transgressive mass violence. This research project intends to provide new insights into how mass murderous violence is facilitated, unleashed, and diffused in a particular environment as a dynamic, poly-centric process. It starts from the premise that resort to extra-ordinary violence is a transgressive act that (i) becomes possible in the wake of a special derogation of ethical, cultural, and/ or legal norms; and (ii) usually produces the momentum for further, more profound trangressive behaviour, based on a combination of authorisation, empowerment, and initiative. The project focuses on the overarching mechanisms that legitimise and precipitate the discharge of violence as both collective and individual, hierarchical and spontaneous undertaking. At the heart of this analysis lies the concept of licence as the critical facilitator and precipitant of violence. In this context of this research licence refers to a mandate, derogation or dispensation that generates (and then contributes to) a habitat of violence - a specific milieu of extreme empowerment and diminished accountability for violence against other humans of a kind that, in 'normal' circumstances, would be proscribed.

My main focus is on ‘spaces of violence’ - namely, incidental, institutional, ad hoc or invisible spaces where transgressive violence becomes the norm (whether for a limited or an indefinite period of time). I am especially interested in how mass violence unfolds as a spatially conditioned phenomenon in each case and how the mechanics of ‘licence’ define those spaces in the first instance. This research has brought me to a theoretical and empirical examination of different spaces (prisons, institutionalised camps, death camps or public locations where transgressive violence occurred through collective agency). 

Career Details

I taught at the Universities of Edinburgh (2001-2002) and Bristol (2002-2003) before being appointed at Lancaster University, first in the Department of European Languages and Cultures (2003-2010) and then in the Department of History (2010-). 

Professional Role

I am Technology and Information officer for the Department of History. I am also member of the Faculty Information Technology Committee and the Web Strategy Group; and Senior User in the University's pilot programme 'Web Content Creation programme'.

Research Grants

British Academy Project Grant (2007)

Leverhulme Research Fellowship (2005)

Leverhulme Early-Career Fellowship (2003)

Web Links

My Academia.edu profile: http://lancaster.academia.edu/AristotleKallis

The external portal for my course HIST232 (Mass violence in the 20th century):http://www.centuryofviolence.co.uk

Other Interests and Hobbies

Photography and travel, cinema and theatre, information technology, exploring urban spaces

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