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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

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Perry Willson is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Italy Social Sciences
national stereotype Social Sciences
diaspora Social Sciences
birth rate Social Sciences
gender Social Sciences
abortion Social Sciences
stereotype Social Sciences
motherhood Social Sciences

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 1985 2019

43 Downloads (Pure)

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
147 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
Group Portraits
War Effort

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)

National Stereotypes

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

national stereotype
popular culture

Activities 2014 2019

University of Milan

Perry Willson (Visiting lecturer)
1 May 201922 May 2019

Activity: Visiting an external institution typesVisiting an external academic institution

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

Perry Willson (Speaker)
16 May 2019

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk

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

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


Second-Wave Feminist Approaches to Sexuality in Britain and France, c.1970-c.1983

Author: Gurun, A., 2015

Supervisor: Willson, P. (Supervisor), Johansen, A. (Supervisor), Brown, C. (Supervisor), Bracke, M. (External person) (Supervisor) & Bellavitis, A. (External person) (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The Lass o' Pairts: Social mobility for women through education in Scotland, 1850-1901.

Author: McCall, A. T., 2013

Supervisor: Brown, C. (Supervisor) & Willson, P. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy