S C Dobbs Professor, History
Phone: (404) 727-4222
Office: Bowden 205

Walter L. Adamson, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Intellectual History (B.A. Swarthmore College, 1968; M.A., University of California, Berkeley, 1969; Ph.D. Brandeis University, 1976); modern European intellectual and cultural history; modern Italian history. Author of Embattled Avant-gardes: Modernism’s Resistance to Commodity Culture in Europe (2007), which uses a collective-biographical approach to study the intellectual reaction to the coming of commodity culture in Italy, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Great Britain; Avant-garde Florence: From Modernism to Fascism (1993), awarded the Howard Marraro Prize by the American Historical Association; Marx and the Disillusionment of Marxism (1985); and Hegemony and Revolution: Antonio Gramsci’s Political and Cultural Theory (1980), awarded the Howard Marraro Prize by the Society for Italian Historical Studies.

I am interested in the imaginings, constructions, and assessments of modernity by European intellectuals, and in their efforts to translate such images and ideas into cultural and political ideologies that seek to reshape it. I am particularly concerned with those efforts that worked beyond or against the metanarratives of modernity that prevailed in particular epochs and places. My current work involves two projects which will probably fuse themselves over time: how the “futurism” of F.T. Marinetti, which flourished in the period before World War I, was transformed during the fascist era, particularly in its new, religious dimensions; and, more generally, how Italian intellectuals during the fascist ventennio reimagined the modern. In the latter regard, I am especially interested in regime efforts in the areas of “religious politics” and “secular religion” and the relationships between intellectuals and those efforts. Both projects are forcing me to consider wider questions and controversies about “secularization” in modernity. In addition, I maintain my longstanding interest in Marx and Marxism; an article on “Marx and Historical Thought” appeared in Lloyd Kramer and Sarah Maza, eds., A Companion to Western Historical Thought (2002).

My Curriculum Vitae


  • BA, Swarthmore College, 1968.
  • MA, University of California, Berkeley, 1969.
  • PhD, Brandeis University, 1976.


  • modern European intellectual and cultural history