Annals of the Fondazione Luigi Einaudi

An Interdisciplinary Journal of Economics, History and Political Science

The Annals is a forum for the free exchange of ideas
among scholars working in the field of social sciences
Volume LIV 2 - 2020

The Diaspora Effect: Cultural Hybridisation in Italian Jewish Philosopher Renato Treves and Spanish Republican Essayist Francisco Ayala in Argentina (1938-1944)

Giulia Quaggio,
pp. 151-178
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Following Peter Burke’s suggestions about the history of diasporas and their imbricate interplay with knowledge and Michele Espagne’s theorisation about “cultural transfer”, this article aims to delve into the channels, personal contacts and distinctive carriers through which the European cultural resistance during the Second World War transited and transplanted its ideas from the homeland to the host-land. Notably, the article explores the transcultural lives and intellectual hybridisation between the Italian Jewish exile Treves and the Spanish Republican émigré Ayala within the polarised context of Argentina before Juan Domingo Perón’s rule (1946-1955) through enquiry into the contents and cross-border scope of the essay A Double Political Experience (1944). After considering the experience of European intellectual exiles in Argentina and the complex creation process of this essay, the article examines three major points: the debate between the two European exiles about freedom, antifascism and the interpretation of the origins of fascism; their idea of nation and cosmopolitanism; and finally their conversion to the discipline of sociology as the more effective intellectual tool to be deployed for the democratic reconciliation and liberal reshaping of post-war Europe. I will argue that for both scholars the exile experience represented a turning point in the assessment and processing of their knowledge on the post-war order. On the threshold of the Cold War era, it globalised and hybridised their intellectual approach to a ‘third Europe’, neither liberal nor socialist but ‘liberal socialist’. The article also helps to provide a more nuanced interpretation of European intellectual resistance during the Second World War and takes into account the often-overlooked agency of American intellectual actors in its narrative and shaping.