Navigating the Culture Wars: Religion and Feminism in Late Nineteenth-Century Italy


ACLS Project Development Grants




This project investigates the intersections of women’s activism and anti-Catholic discourse in Italy from 1860-1890, a period marked by fierce debates across Europe over the role of religion, particularly Catholicism, in public life. These conflicts were highly gendered: while women often defended the Catholic Church, opponents claimed it oppressed women and took advantage of their irrationality. In contrast, Italian feminists criticized the Catholic Church and found support for female emancipation among certain anticlerical and anti-Catholic men of the patriotic left. "Navigating the Culture Wars" explores how these activists worked together to achieve their shared vision for an Italian future.