1985 …2019

Research output per year

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Personal profile


My main research interests lie in women's/gender history and in the history of Italian Fascism. Amongst other topics, I have published on the role of women in the Fascist Party; the history of the rural world; abortion; labour and business history; imperialism; the Fascist mass mobilising organisations; the Italian Resistance; the history of the private sphere; and on representations of motherhood in Italy and its diaspora. My most recent monograph explores the history of Italian women over the course of the twentieth century.

I was Chair of the Association for the Study of Modern Italy from 2006-09 and I am currently Vice-Convenor of Women's History Scotland.

I serve on the Editorial Board of Modern Italy journal and was a founder member of the Editorial Collective of Gender and History journal.

I have held Fellowships at the Einaudi Foundation (Turin), the European University Institute (Florence), IASH (Edinburgh) and Nuffield College (Oxford)

I was the 2019 Federico Chabod Visiting Professor in Contemporary History at the University of Milan



Modern Imperialism and Decolonisation (Level Two)

Making History (Level Three)

Women and Gender in Twentieth-Century Europe (Level Three)

Fascist Italy (Level Four)



History Skills and Sources

Documenting Dissent


  • DG Italy
  • Gender
  • Fascism

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Research Output

Confusione terminologica: “femminismo” ed “emancipazionismo” nell’Italia liberale

Translated title of the contribution: Terminological Confusion: “Feminism” and “Emancipationism” in Liberal ItalyWillson, P., Aug 2019, In : Italia Contemporanea. 290, 21 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
  • 98 Downloads (Pure)

    Group Portrait: the Ispettrici Nazionali of the Italian Fascist Party 1937-1943

    Willson, P., Jun 2018, In : Historical Journal. 61, 2, p. 431-451 21 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 224 Downloads (Pure)

    La Mamma: Italian Mothers Past and Present

    Morris, P. & Willson, P., 2018, La Mamma: Interrogating a National Stereotype. Morris, P. & Willson, P. (eds.). New York: Palgrave Macmillan, p. 1-27 27 p. (Italian and Italian American Studies).

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

  • La Mamma: Interrogating a National Stereotype

    Willson, P. (ed.) & Morris, P., Jun 2018, New York: Palgrave Macmillan. 248 p. (Italian and Italian American Studies)

    Research output: Book/ReportBook

  • Activities

    University of Milan

    Perry Willson (Visiting lecturer)

    1 May 201922 May 2019

    Activity: Visiting an external institution typesVisiting an external academic institution

    Women's Lives, Women's Voices

    Perry Willson (Organiser), & Gail Low (Organiser)

    2 Mar 2019

    Activity: Other activity typesPublic engagement and outreach - public lecture/debate/seminar

    Confusione terminologica: “femminismo” ed “emancipazionismo” nell’Italia liberale

    Perry Willson (Speaker)

    16 May 2019

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk

    Difficult Conversations: Thinking and Talking About Women, Genders, and Sexualities Inside and Outside the Academy

    Perry Willson (Keynote/plenary speaker)

    3 Jun 2017

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference

    Feminism, Emancipationism, and Women's Associationism. Historians and the Italian Women's Movement 1880-1918

    Perry Willson (Keynote speaker)

    29 Sep 201630 Sep 2016

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk