Diana Garvin. Feeding Fascism: The Politics of Women’s Food Work. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2021.


Winner of the 2021 Jeanne and Aldo Scaglione Publication Award, Honorable Mention for Manuscript in Italian Literary Studies, Modern Language Association

How did women negotiate the politics of Italy’s Fascist regime in their daily lives? Feeding Fascism tackles this question with a new body of evidence drawn from food and foodways.

It explores how women fed their families through agricultural and industrial labor. Work songs sing of the political stakes of miscarriage in fields and breastfeeding on the factory line. Diaries provide first-hand accounts attesting to the treacherous politics of domestic work in the private kitchens of the wealthy. Personal letters reveal what it took for women to forge careers as cookbook authors and culinary entrepreneurs under a regime that dictated that a woman’s place was in the home. What is more, Feeding Fascism uncovers the surprising methods used by the Fascist party to seize control over food work, to further their goal of building more and better Italians for future military domination. At stake in this story lies the question of how the need for nourishment shaped women’s consent to Fascism – and their resistance.

Over the past decade, Garvin has conducted extensive research in over 30 Italian museums, libraries, and archives. Feeding Fascism provides over 80 rich illustrations of cookbooks, kitchen utensils, cafeteria plans, and culinary propaganda to connect women’s political beliefs with the places that they lived and worked, and the objects that they owned and borrowed. These examples illustrate how women and the Fascist state vied for control over national diet across many manifestations - cooking, feeding, and eating - to assert and negotiate their authority. In taking this distinctive approach to the archive, Feeding Fascism attests to the power of food.

Reviews of Feeding Fascism

“[Feeding Fascism] is a fascinating work focusing on what seems to be a normal aspect of life, identifying how fascist policies aimed at controlling and manipulating daily occurrences relating to culinary objects and traditions.” – Modern Language Association Scaglione Award Judges’ Citation
Diana Garvin. The Bean in the Machine: Coffee under Fascism. In progress.

The Bean in the Machine

In progress: Winner of the 2020-2022 Fulbright Global Scholar Award, 2020 Getty Library Research Grant

Building on the method and approach of Feeding Fascism, Garvin is researching her second book, The Bean in the Machine: Coffee under Fascism. Here she investigates the history of coffee culture across metropole, work site, and colony during the Fascist ventennio (1922-1945). To do so, she uses the novel framework of coffee to connect the Fascist-period histories of different world regions that have previously been explored independently. Examining seasonal agricultural practices within a larger framework for botanical colonization reveals the lived experience of totalitarian politics for plants and animals, as well as humans. By untangling the interwar trade of beans and bodies between three continents, this project brings to light an untold story of imperial aggression and caffeinated resistance

Let’s Go: Spain and Portugal 2006. Ed. Diana Garvin. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2005.

Let’s Go: Spain and Portugal 2006

(Work also appears in Let’s Go: Western Europe 2006)

Traveling the Iberian peninsula on a shoestring budget? Let’s Go: Spain & Portugal 2006 brings you the real deal, from Pamplona's bullfighting ethics to Lisbon's fado music. Completely revised and updated, this guide features expanded coverage of a range of outdoor activities, including new-and-improved hiking info and all you ever wanted to know about flamingo flocks and web-footed poodles. The cosmopolitan set will not be disappointed either, as this year's guide shares secrets about why you shouldn't eat appetizers in big-city Portugal or why Costa del Sol is the one place every traveler can afford to skip. Connecting with new friends is easier than ever, with a new Catalan phrasebook and a calendar of culinary festivals. So whether you'd rather spend a quiet night in a monastery or party all night with the locals, Let's Go can show you the way to what's fun, what's fresh, and what's free.