Harvard Fills Post In Italian Studies After Long Vacancy

A lectureship created more than 40 years ago but vacant until last week, was finally filled when an Italian economics professor arrived from Bologna Thursday as the first Lauro de Bosis Italian Civilization.

Harvard created the de Bosis lectureship in the 1930s to provide financial support for exiles of the then fascist Italian regime, Romani Prodi, an economics professor from the University of Bologna, said yesterday.

Inadequate Funding

The position lapsed after World War II due to inadequate funding. Seven Italian manufacturing firms decided last fall to re-fund a new chair in order to teach Americans about Italian society and culture, Prodi said.

Under the conditions of the post, an Italian scholar will come to Harvard each semester. Prodi will teach Economics 2364, a course on post-war Italian economic development.


Prodi said yesterday that his stay here will provide him with a much-needed "chance for reflection." He is a member of the Italian Government's Price Commission, which must deal with an anticipated 12-15 percent inflation rate in 1974, the worst in Europe.

The post is named after an Italian liberal who died in an airplane crash while dropping anti-fascist pamphlets on Rome in the 1930s. The Italian government claims de Bosis' plane ran out of gas, Prodi said.

Gaetano Salvemina, who Prodi called a "symbol of anti-fascism for the Italians during World War II" was the first political exile to benefit from the lectureship.

Conscience of a Generation

"His was one of the most important political minds of the twentieth century," Prodi said. "His voice was the conscience of that generations of anti-fascists."

Prodi said he fears a move to the right if conditions in Italy worsen and a strike takes place. "We must avoid unemployment, and the government must reach a gentleman's agreement with the trade unions to prevent trouble," he said.

The unions seek an official voice in the present coalition government. Prod said that this might not come for several years, although the government does consult with the unions frequently.