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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

ODU Professor Maura Hametz Earns Historical Association Book Award

Old Dominion University history professor Maura Hametz was recently named a recipient of The Smith Award by the European History Section of the Southern Historical Association for her book, "In the Name of Italy: Nation, Family, and Patriotism in a Fascist Court."

At ODU, Hametz specializes in the history of modern Europe, including the 19th and 20th centuries, Italy, the Habsburg monarchy, European fascism, Jewish history and the Mediterranean.

The European History Section of the Southern Historical Association, which was founded in 1955, is the oldest European history association in the country, according to the organization's website. It encourages the study of European history through a comparative, multi-disciplinary approach that has attracted historians and researchers throughout the United States and abroad.

The Smith Award, named for Charles E. Smith (1906-1959), a former Louisiana State University history professor and dean, is given for the best book published in European history by a section member, a faculty member of a Southern college or university or by a Southern press. The accolade includes an award of $150.

An award description notes the criteria for selection include: quality and originality of research, new and stimulating interpretations and insights, as well as literary quality.

Hametz's book, according to a publisher's synopsis, delves into the legal case of Luigia Paulovich, an elderly widow's successful 1931 challenge of the "Italianization" of her surname.

"A compelling narrative ... the book reveals institutional uncertainty, signs of underlying discontent, and legal opposition to Fascistization in the first decade of Mussolini's rule," the description states. "It explores the world of Fascist justice in the halls of the Italian Administrative Court, highlighting the interplay of Italian law and the judiciary in the interpretation of Fascist expectations and the enforcement of Fascist policies against the backdrop of inherited cultural, political, and gendered beliefs."

Hametz earned a bachelor's degree in history and international relations from Colgate University and a Ph.D. in comparative history from Brandeis University. She has taught at ODU since 1996. Among several other awards, Hametz was elected, in 2007, to be a fellow in the Royal Historical Society, of London.

For more information about Hametz's book, visit the Fordham University Press website.

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