NUI Galway Lecture to Address Social Origins of First Ku Klux Klan and Early Mafia

Dec 03 2018 Posted: 10:43 GMT

The new Professors lecture series at the College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Celtic Studies at NUI Galway will continue with Professor of American History, Enrico Dal Lago, on Thursday, 13 December at 5pm, in Room G010, Moore Institute NUI Galway.

In his talk, Professor Dal Lago will contend that a comparative historical project focusing on the events and transformations that occurred in the United States in the period after the American Civil War and in Italy in the period after national unification can help us understand better the deep economic, social, and political changes experienced by the rural areas of the nineteenth-century Euro-American world.

In this lecture, Professor Dal Lago will compare the Reconstruction U.S. South with post-unification southern Italy by investigating specifically the reasons behind the origin and expansion of violent practices of agrarian vigilantism and criminal activity in the cotton-producing regions of upcountry South Carolina and in the citrus-growing regions of coastal western Sicily. In comparable terms, in both the cases of upcountry South Carolina and coastal western Sicily, those violent practices were tightly related to both a regional agrarian past and the specific historical circumstances of the period between 1865 and 1875. Also in comparable terms, those practices led to the creation of two particular traditions of illegal violent activity – the first Ku Klux Klan and the early Mafia – which, although very different in character, served a similar purpose of controlling the agrarian workforce in areas characterised by the production of highly valuable cash-crops.

Dr Seán Crosson, Vice-Dean for Research in the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies at NUI Galway, said: “We are delighted to continue this lecture series which provides a great opportunity for the University to make the general public more aware of the world-leading innovative research being undertaken in the college. This is the sixth speaker in the series which has featured contributions to date in the areas of social policy, education, political thought, online therapies, language transmission, and behavioural psychology.”


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