Mark Gilbert

Mark Gilbert, PhD

Professor of History and International Studies
International Relations
Global Theory and History
European and Eurasian Studies
Strategic Studies
Conflict Management

SAIS Europe
Room 207

Expertise

Regions
  • Europe
  • Great Britain
  • Italy
  • Western Europe
Topics
  • European Union and Transatlantic Relations
Languages
  • French
  • Italian

Background and Education

Before coming to Bologna, Gilbert was associate professor in contemporary history and international studies at the University of Trento and lecturer in European studies at the University of Bath. He began his academic career as assistant professor of political science at Dickinson College. Gilbert is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society. Since 2015 he is Associate Editor of the Journal of Modern Italian Studies. He was educated (BA hons Politics, 1983) at Durham University and was awarded a PhD in contemporary history by the University of Wales (1990).

Publications: Author of The World since 1945: An International History (co-author, 2016); Cold War Europe: The Politics of a Contested Continent (2014); European Integration: A Concise History (2011); A Historical Dictionary of Modern Italy (co-author 2007, 2nd edition); Storia politica dell'integrazione europea (2003); Surpassing Realism: The Politics of European Integration since 1945 (2003); The Lega Nord and the Northern Question in Italian Politics (co-author 2001); The Italian Revolution: The End of Politics, Italian Style? (1995). He has contributed numerous articles to refereed academic journals of history and politics. His work on current affairs has appeared in The National Interest, Survival, World Policy Journal, and on ForeignAffairs.com.


2015-04-14 00:00:00 
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Fall 2016 
This course is ...
This course is concerned with the principal developments in European political history since 1945, namely the Cold War and the failure of communism, European integration, democratization, and Europe's changing demography. The course will conclude with a discussion of populism in contemporary Europe. The class will feature interactive teaching methods, with a high premium being placed on class discussion of set texts, as well as student presentations. The course's goal is to combine historical and political theory with narrative history to paint a plausible picture of Europe's current political direction and the durability of its postwar era of relative peace and prosperity. (Cross listed European & Eurasian Studies/International Relations) (T&H)
Fall 2016 
This course is ...
This course is part of the MAGR program

This course uses case studies to examine the causes of political change in consolidated democracies. The cases it looks at in detail are: Great Britain, 1964–1979 and Italy, 1979–1994. Why these two cases? Britain was a by-word for political stability in the 1950s. Yet by the mid–1970s it was regarded as the 'sick man of Europe.' The Heath government fought the 1974 elections on the theme of 'who governs Britain' (the voters decided it was not the government); Britain was forced to have recourse to the IMF in 1976; Mrs. Thatcher was elected to office in May 1979 with a specific mandate to stop the decline. The country, in short, had gone from being a paragon of stability to a pioneer of radical political change in the space of a decade, or little more. Italy, by contrast, was reputed to be the most unstable West European country. In fact, in the 1980s, political commentators noted that it was a very stable instability. The country's much-maligned democracy had, in fact, delivered the economic goods and turned Italy into a highly successful economy and society. The country naturally proceeded to collapse. Between 1989 and 1994 Italy experienced, IV Republic France apart, the worst crisis of any post-war European democracy.

The thesis of this course is that by looking at these two empirical cases one can develop a tentative method for the political analysis of advanced democracies. We are going to ask 'why did Britain (Italy) become politically unstable?' This question cannot be reduced to a few simple variables in a rigid formula. It can only be answered by reconstructing (simulating) the events and trying to figure out what was important and what was not. Our point is, however, that it is possible to generalize from these experiences to other cases. Analysts should look at the constitutional frameworks, the expected and unexpected consequences of legislation, the moods of public opinion, the solidity of the public finances, the perception of social justice, the personal qualities of political leaders, the ambitions and self-image of the political class, the changing character of the population and so on. We should, in short, multiply variables, not reduce them, if we want to understand the direction that particular societies are taking. If we want to gauge political risk — and gauge is a much better word than calculate since it implies using or judgment rather than some mechanical formula — there is no alternative to simulating complexity.

The course is co-taught with Justin Frosini
Spring 2017 
Analyzes in his...
Analyzes in historical context some of the major ethical questions posed by modern warfare. In addition to discussing what peace means and clarifying the just war tradition in political philosophy, the course addresses in detail such issues as the right to self-defense, pacifism, war guilt, humanitarian intervention, the bombing of civilians, and proportionate response. The course is a seminar and will be taught primarily through the structured discussion of the set texts. (Cross listed Strategic Studies/International Relations) (CM/T&H)
Spring 2017 
Oppressive regi...
Oppressive regimes and ideologies are more common in world politics than democracy and liberalism. This course studies the reaction of twentieth century intellectuals to "the totalitarian mind." How intellectuals interpreted and resisted Fascism and Communism is naturally at the core of the course, but so, too, are issues such as sexism, apartheid, and racial and gender discrimination. Works (books, essays and films) by W.H. Auden, Simone De Beauvoir, Ayann Hirsi Ali, James Baldwin, Arthur Koestler, Milan Kundera, Doris Lessing, Primo Levi, Benito Mussolini, George Orwell, Leni Riefenstahl, Edward Said, Leonardo Sciascia and Ignazio Silone will all be the subject of seminars. All lessons will be characterized by the structured discussion of the set texts. (Cross listed European & Eurasian Studies/International Relations) (T&H)
May 12, 2017 
Mark Gilbert, P...

Mark Gilbert, Professor of History and International Studies; Academic and Faculty Liaison, wrote an article for World Politics Review entitled "The Comeback Kid: What Renzi's Return Means for Italy's Stormy Politics."

December 14, 2016 
Mark Gilbert, P...

Mark Gilbert, Professor of History and International Studies; Academic and Faculty Liaison, wrote an article for Foreign Affairs entitled "Italy's EU Retreat."

December 12, 2016 
Mark Gilbert, P...

Mark Gilbert, Professor of History and International Studies; Academic and Faculty Liaison, writes a book review for IISS Survival entitled "The Eurafrican Idea."

December 2, 2016 
Mark Gilbert, P...

Mark Gilbert, Professor of History and International Studies; Academic and Faculty Liaison, participated in a conference at the University of Udine entitled "Leggere la storia per comprendere la Brexit (in Italian)."

July 14, 2016 
Mark Gilbert, P...

Mark Gilbert, Professor of History and International Studies; Academic and Faculty Liaison, wrote a piece on World Politics Review entitled "Italy Enjoys a Political Lull, but Storm Clouds Are Gathering."

October 26, 2015 
Mark Gilbert, P...

Mark Gilbert, Professor of History and International Studies; Academic and Faculty Liaison, wrote an article for the Eutopia Magazine entitled "The origins of British Euroscepticism."

December 9, 2014 
Mark Gilbert, P...

Mark Gilbert, Professor of History and International Studies; Academic and Faculty Liaison, will participate in a raoundtable disussion at the Gramsci Foundation intitled "Convegno di studi Berlinguer, la Guerra Fredda e l'Europa (in Italian)."

October 1, 2014 
Mark Gilbert, P...

Mark Gilbert, Professor of History and International Studies; Academic and Faculty Liaison, wrote an article for Survival entitled "Italy's Forty Years' Crisis."

April 17, 2013 
Mark Gilbert, P...

Mark Gilbert, Professor of History and International Studies; Academic and Faculty Liaison, wrote a commentary in the World Policy Institute Journal titled, "Italy's Presidential Choice: The Devil or the Deep Blue Sea."

March 2, 2013 
Mark Gilbert, P...

Mark Gilbert, Professor of History and International Studies; Academic and Faculty Liaison, was quoted in The Huffington Post Italy in an article titled, "Risultati Elezioni 2013, dopo Credit Suisse anche Goldman Sachs promuove Beppe Grillo.."