Empty Flags and Fallen ‘Angeli’
- Kristina Olson (see profile)
- Dante Alighieri, 1265-1321, Dante Alighieri, 1265-1321, White nationalism
- Item Type:
- Blog Post
- Dante, Dante studies
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- It has been demonstrated by BIPoC and white scholars that alt-right, white nationalist, and white supremacist groups have purposefully co-opted late-ancient and medieval symbols for their forceful displays of racism and toxic masculinity at riots and protests. Though these examples misappropriate Norse, Germanic and Crusader history, politicians and leaders of the alt-right in other countries have similarly reclaimed their medieval past as a part of their revisionist narratives. Fascists of the early 20th century distorted Dante Alighieri, 14th century poet of the Divine Comedy, into Italy’s idyll of patriotic glory. Medieval iconography was again apparent in the disturbing images of white supremacist and nationalists, many who wore shirts with the Deus Vult cross when attacking the US Capitol on January 6, 2021. As I suggest here, Dante was present in these images as well. But it was not the idealized, neo-fascist distortion of the 14th century Italian poet in view. Instead, it was the textual Dante, what one might call the “real” Dante, who was legible in the photographic documentation of the event. I discuss two ways in which we can read this Dante and how we can reclaim medieval culture at this horrific event.
- This article previously appeared on The Sundial (ACMRS).
- Last Updated:
- 2 years ago
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