April 17 2017
McKayla Sluga ’17, a history and American studies double major, presented at the 22nd Annual SUNY Oneonta Undergraduate Philosophy Conference, held April 7 and 8.
Her paper titled, “Benjamin's Aestheticizing the Political: Italian Futurism, Fascism, and Alessandro Bruschetti's Sintesi Fascista,” relates Walter Benjamin’s concept of aestheticizing experience to Italian Fascism and Futurism. This relationship, she argues, is crucial to understanding how Mussolini manipulated the Italian masses as well as how painting, and art more generally, can be used as a tool for exploitation. She then uses Bruschetti’s Sintesi Fascista (Fascist Synthesis) as a concrete illustration of how Futurism and Fascism converged to impose the Italian state’s ideology onto its people.
“After presenting at the conference last year, I made great connections with fellow philosophers and I wanted to place myself back in this challenging environment where such creative, smart ideas circulate. My paper sparked discussions about glorifying violence in totalitarian regimes, in addition to how celebrations of violence can also be found in the United States and other democratic states,” said McKayla.
Additionally, McKayla remarked, “This paper is one of my favorite projects because it combines art history, history and philosophy, and it focuses on several themes that I plan to continue exploring in graduate school. It was fun to become part of this broader philosophical community and build strong networks at the undergraduate level that I can take with me beyond Elmira College.”