US Dollars

Mafia to visit Cornwall

Whenever organised crime is discussed, the word “Mafia” invariably turns up and conjures images of suited men with sunglasses and plenty of attitude.

These characters have been portrayed in bestselling books since the turn of the twentieth century and the subject of some of Hollywood’s most successful films.

The Mafia will form the focus for a series of free public lectures at the University of Exeter’s Cornwall Campus led by a range of high profile experts. These lectures investigate where organised crime originated, how the Mafia came about and why they became so powerful. 

The lectures start at 6.30pm in the Chapel Lecture Theatre and will include a question and answer session.

The first lecture will be given on Monday 11 February and will focus on the birth of the Mafia. This will be led by successful author John Dickie, whose latest book Blood Brotherhoods has been an international best-seller. He is also a professor in Italian Studies at University College London, whose research focuses on the Sicilian Mafia.

A month later, on Monday March 11, independent scholar and best-selling author, Dr Mike Dash, will be discussing the origins and early evolution of the American Mafia. He will unravel some of the half-truths and misunderstandings about the brutal and bloody birth of one of Italy's most notorious exports in the New World.

In early May, Professor Frederico Varese, Professor of Sociology at Oxford will be looking at present day networks of organised crime -where they originated, how they expand and reproduce.

Dr Kristofer Allerfeldt, a Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Exeter’s Cornwall Campus organised the programme of lectures and is currently working on the origins of organised criminal groups most notably the KKK, the Cosa Nostra and Black Hand. Dr Allerfeldt said “These are some of the leading scholars in this controversial and exciting field of research. I know they will entertain, provoke and impress anyone with the slightest interest in organised crime.

He added:“It is thought that over twenty percent of World GDP is the result of the activities of organised criminal networks. They are rarely out of the headlines. We are told every day of Somali pirates, Russian Mafias, the Cosa Nostra, Mexican and South American drug lords.

The series of Mafia lectures are in the Chapel Lecture Theatre at 6.30pm on the Cornwall Campus, Penryn. To attend please register with the history office on 01326 371817 or email 

Date: 6 February 2013

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