Fleeing dictatorship: socialism, sexuality and the history of science in the life of Aldo Mieli

Abstract

This article examines the life and activities of the Italian intellectual Aldo Mieli as examples of the impact on intellectual agendas of interference by the authorities. Mieli is nowadays known as one of the founders of the history of science as an autonomous discipline and as a pioneer of gay rights. For most of his life he managed to further his activities related to the history of science. The political career that he started as a young man, however, was cut short because the Italian Socialist Party could not accept his homosexuality. His first exile, and his leaving of one of the two journals he had founded, _Rassegna di studi sessuali_, in the hands of people close to the Fascist regime have been generally seen as Mieli’s free choice. But his private correspondence reveals that his hatred and fear of the regime left him with no option. In particular, the regime did not tolerate any opposition to its demographic policy and its own view of eugenics. As a consequence _Rassegna_ was brought into line and Mieli pushed aside. The Fascist regime thus covertly closed down a prominent forum for discussion of sexuality and homosexuality

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Cristina Chimisso
Open University (UK)

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