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Eden Knudsen McLean

Eden Knudsen McLean

Joseph A. Kicklighter Endowed Associate Professor

Associate Professor

Director of Graduate Studies


Eden Knudsen McLean

Contact Me


320-D Thach Hall

Office Hours

By Appointment


PhD, Yale University

MPhil, Yale University

MA, Yale University

BA, University of Virginia

About Me

Eden McLean is a historian of twentieth-century Europe, with a particular focus on Italy in the interwar period. Her first book, Mussolini’s Children: Race and Elementary Education in Fascist Italy (University of Nebraska Press, 2018) uses the lens of state-mandated youth culture to analyze the evolution of official racism in Fascist Italy. 

McLean’s second book project, The Limits of Fascism: Luigi Molina and the Fight for Fascist Hegemony in an Italian Borderland, 1923-1944, employs the recently discovered memoir of the superintendent of schools in Trentino-South Tyrol between 1923 and 1944 to analyze Fascism’s attempts to “Italianize” the multilingual population through the education system and, with it, to standardize the meaning of “Italian-ness” for the entire nation.

As these two projects highlight, McLean is more broadly interested in questions of identity/identification, especially as they pertain to the categories of race, nation, and ethnicity in modern Europe. She is also concerned with the intersecting histories of education, childhood, and state ideologies. Her research has been supported by Auburn University’s Creative Works and Social Impact Scholarship (CWSIS) grant, the American Philosophical Society, Trinity College’s Barbieri Grant, the Wolfsonian at FIU, EURAC, U.S.-Italy Fulbright Commission, the Smith Richardson Foundation, and Yale University.

McLean offers courses on world history, modern Europe, fascism, and modern Italy. She welcomes applications for graduate study in the history of twentieth-century European ideologies, fascism, education and childhood, and borderlands.

Research Interests

20th-century Europe, modern Italy, fascism, nationalism, and racism, borderlands, education and childhood


  • Mussolini’s Children: Race and Elementary Education in Fascist Italy (University of Nebraska Press, 2018).
  • “The Un-Common Sense of National Identity: Luigi Molina, Trentini, and the Fascist Italianisation Campaign in Southern Tyrol,” Contemporary European History, 2023, 1-21. DOI: 10.1017/S0960777323000139
  • “What Does It Mean to Be a(n Italian) Borderland? Recent Literature on Italy’s ‘New Provinces’ of South Tyrol and the Julian March.” Contemporary European History (2021): 1-11. DOI: 10.1017/S0960777320000545
  • “A Border within the Borderland: Assimilation through Separation in Fascist Italy’s South Tyrol.” In “Myths in Austrian History: Construction and Deconstruction,” edited by Günter Bischof, Marc Landry, and Christian Karner. Special issue, Contemporary Austrian Studies 29 (2020): 285-295.
  • “The Rhetoric of Race in Fascist Elementary Education.” In New Perspectives in Italian Cultural Studies, Volume 2: The Arts and History, edited by Graziella Parati, 265-284. Madison, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2012.

Courses Taught

HIST 1010: World History I
HIST 1020: World History II
HIST 2080: Europe since 1750
HIST 3800: The Historian’s Craft
HIST 3970: Fascism
HIST 3970: Modern Italy
HIST 5330/6330: Twentieth-century Europe
HIST 7700: Graduate Seminar in Historical Methods
HIST 7970: Graduate Seminar: Fascism
HIST 7970: Graduate Seminar: Us vs. Them
HIST 8710: Introduction to Teaching History