Michigan State University Associate Professor of History Dr. Karrin Hanshew was recently awarded a research grant from the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst/German Academic Exchange Service for fall 2023. In addition to spending time in German archives, Dr. Hanshew will be affiliated with the History Department at the Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany and will also collaborate with scholars at the universities of Saarland, Stuttgart, and Freiburg who share her interest in German and Italian relations.
Dr. Hanshew’s current project is a history of the two countries’ social reconstruction in the wake of war and fascism that begins with the end of the “Rome-Berlin Axis” amid Germans’ occupation of Italy in 1943 and ends in the early twenty-first century. By returning to the final days of World War II and working out from there, Dr. Hanshew’s research suggests just how astonishing it is that these populations were not only able to live peacefully with one another after 1945 but also to work toward a variety of common futures. Hanshew’s research provides evidence of how Germans and Italians did this, not by offering a new history of the institutions and elites associated with the European project but by delving into the contacts and exchanges that occurred outside of them, often with no thought to “Europe” or “politics” at all. Together, it encourages a reassessment of, for instance, tourism and the emotional register of early postwar politics, while highlighting the different postwar visions of the “good life” that Germans and Italians worked toward. The result is an alternative history of postwar Europeanization, one that takes seriously the importance of interpersonal relations for fashioning lasting connections between populations, even as it acknowledges the often-asymmetrical nature of those connections.
Hanshew most recently published an article in German History, entitled “Postwar Italian Journeys: Narratives of Homecoming, National Cohesion, and German–Italian Friendship.” That publication can be accessed here: German History, Volume 41, Issue 1, March 2023, pp. 67–87, https://doi.org/10.1093/gerhis/ghac079