The ‘New Man’ Symposium
Conveners: Jorge Dagnino (de los Andes) & Matthew Feldman (Teesside)
The ‘New Man Symposium’ will examine fascist movements and regimes through the lens of an attempted anthropological revolution. This attempt to create a ‘homo fascistus’ during the fascist epoch is approached via a comparative angle, with presentations by leaders in the field of Fascist Studies. Taking different perspectives and looking at national movements across Europe, as well as in Latin America, it is hoped that this interdisciplinary conference will revive interest in this much neglected topic.
Dr Valentin Sandulescu (Bucharest) – The Iron Guard’s failed struggle for regenerating the nation: Romanian fascism and its goal of creating a ‘new man’
Fascism’s projected “anthropological revolution” was central to its political creed, and the idea of the “new man” emerged as one of its core components, the final product of the desired regeneration of the national body. Overlooked for vast periods by many scholars in the field of fascist studies, the analysis of the fascist “new man” garnered increased attention in the last two decades. The present paper focuses on the emergence and development of the idea of the “new man” within Romanian fascism’s most important movement, the Legion of the
Archangel Michael, from the end of the 1920s and throughout the 1930s. One can identify three main stages of this process, from a still ideological blurry beginning in the late 1920s to a consolidation in 1933, when many young intellectuals join the movement and enhance its appeal by emphasizing the idea of the “new man”, to a fully-fledged attempt to put it into practice in the second half of the 1930s by rejecting mainstream politics and pretending to be a school that would educate its young militants to become the “new men” of tomorrow. The paper will also look at the profile of the legionary “new man” and will focus on how the work camps system implemented by the Iron Guard, especially between 1934 and 1936, was designed to act as the school for forging fascist “new men”.