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I am a Ph.D. candidate in History at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.
My dissertation-in-progress, titled “Lives Under Cover: Comparative History of Fascist and Nazi Spies, 1927-1945,” is a comparative and transnational history of Fascist and Nazi spies from 1927—the genesis of the Fascist secret police, called OVRA, with which most of the Fascist spies were affiliated—to 1945. I shift the focus from institutional stories of the police to a detailed analysis of the police informers’ profiles and motives, while using history as a tool for actively engaging in the current debates about the ethical issues that surveillance poses. I underline the spies’ multi-layered subversion of values––pertaining to politics, to ideological norms about gender, and to religious values.
My comparison between Italy, France, Germany, and Austria also highlights the international nature of this spy network, which transcended national boundaries just as spies transcended their sense of national identity, and underscores the intersection of repression and collaboration, traditionally thought of as opposite, but operating together in the spies’ lives. While scholars have given us an excellent understanding of the structure of the Fascist and the Nazi secret police, they have neglected to illuminate their imperfect human tools. We are left with the misleading impression that these police services were perfectly functioning machines of terror in the hands of a few powerful individuals. My dissertation is an immersion into everyday life in the Fascist and Nazi regimes and an attempt to give this system of repression a human face. One grasps that terror is a double-edged sword only by looking at how repression acts on ordinary human beings—which spies ultimately were.
Situated at the nexus of surveillance studies, comparative history, microhistory, and gender studies, my dissertation endeavors to question and complicate the traditional divisions between the disciplines, because a nuanced study of surveillance—by the very nature of its object—needs observant eyes and a complex set of analytic lenses.
My current work is supported by several grants and fellowships from the following institutions: at Cornell, the Judith Reppy Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies, the Society for the Humanities, and the Cornell Institute for European Studies; elsewhere, the Chateaubriand Fellowship Program, the Lemmermann Foundation in Rome, Trinity College’s Cesare Barbieri Endowment, the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, the Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies, the Fondation pour la Mémoire de la Shoah, and the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD).
Dissertation committee: Enzo Traverso (advisor), Isabel V. Hull, Claudia Verhoeven, Alya Aglan (ad hoc member)
- Modern European History with a particular focus on Italy, France, and Germany
- Fascism and Nazism
- World War I & II
- History of the Resistance
- Holocaust Studies
- Gender Studies
- Political violence & terror
- With Guillaume Pollack and Vincent Houle: “Frontières. Circulations, vie quotidienne, illégalités.” Les Cahiers Sirice 2019/1 (No 22). URL: https://www.cairn.info/revue-les-cahiers-sirice-2019-1.htm
Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles & Contributions to Edited Volumes:
- “Betraying Your Own: Jewish Spies and the Deportation of Jews during the Second World War.” S:I.M.O.N. Shoah: Intervention. Methods. Documentation, Vol 7 No 2 (2020): 50-65. URL: https://simon.vwi.ac.at/index.php/simon/article/view/169
- With Guillaume Pollack and Vincent Houle: “Frontières. Circulations, vie quotidienne, illégalités. Introduction.” Les Cahiers Sirice 2019/1 (No 22): 5-14. URL: https://www.cairn.info/revue-les-cahiers-sirice-2019-1-page-5.htm
- With Guillaume Pollack and Vincent Houle: “Borders. Circulations, daily life, illegalities. Introduction.” Les Cahiers Sirice 2019/1 (No 22): 5a-14a. URL: https://www.cairn.info/revue-les-cahiers-sirice-2019-1-page-5a.htm
- “Herr Himmler’s Agents.” Hoover Digest 2019, No. 1: 176-189. URL: https://www.hoover.org/research/herr-himmlers-agents
- “Three Layers of Ambiguity: Homosexual Spies and International Intrigue in Fascist Italy.” The Space Between: Literature and Culture 1914-1945. Volume 13, 2017 | “International Intrigue: Plotting Espionage as Cultural Artifact.” URL: http://scalar.usc.edu/works/the-space-between-literature-and-culture-1914-1945/vol13_2017_carnaghi
- Silvio Trentin e il contributo della Resistenza al progetto di costruzione europea (“Silvio Trentin and the contribution of the Resistance to the European Union project”) in Fulvio Cortese (ed.). Liberare e Federare: l'eredità intellettuale di Silvio Trentin (“Liberate and Federate: The intellectual heritage of Silvio Trentin”). Florence: Firenze University Press, 2016: 241-252.
- Virginia d’Albert-Lake, une américaine dans la Résistance. Aspects internationaux et rôle des femmes dans les réseaux(“Virginia d’Albert-Lake, an American in the Resistance. International aspects and women’s role in the networks”). Bulletin de l'Institut Pierre Renouvin 1/ 2014 (N° 39): 113-127.
- Silvio Trentin, un fédéraliste en guerre contre le fascisme (“Silvio Trentin, a federalist at war with fascism”). Bulletin de l'Institut Pierre Renouvin 1/ 2013 (N° 37): 121-132.
- Argante Bocchio. Una storia del Novecento (“Argante Bocchio. A story of the Twentieth Century”). l'impegno, year XXXI, new series, n. 2, December 2011: 43-65.
- Review of Con Gli Occhi Di Una Bambina. Maria Cervi, Memoria Pubblica Della Famiglia. By Laura Artioli. Modern Italy, March 16, 2021. URL: https://doi.org/10.1017/mit.2021.5
- Review of Dodd, Lindsey; Lees, David, eds., Vichy France and Everyday Life: Confronting the Challenges of Wartime, 1939-1945. H-War, H-Net Reviews, May 2020. URL: http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=53631
- Review of Saving One’s Own: Jewish Rescuers During the Holocaust. By Mordecai Paldiel. Reading Religion, October 23, 2018. URL: http://readingreligion.org/books/saving-ones-own
- Review of Le genre de la Résistance. La Résistance féminine dans le Nord de la France. By Catherine Lacour-Astol. Vingtième Siècle. Revue d'histoire, 2016/1 N° 129: 211. URL: http://www.cairn.info/revue-vingtieme-siecle-revue-d-histoire-2016-1-page-201.htm
- Review of A World Without Jews: The Nazi Imagination from Persecution to Genocide. By Alon Confino. Hungarian Historical Review 4, no. 3 (2015): 778–782. URL: http://www.hunghist.org
- “Unveiling evil: ‘Hitler’s furies’ and the dark side of women’s history.” Journal of the History of Ideas Blog, June 8, 2016. URL: https://jhiblog.org/2016/06/08/unveiling-evil-hitlers-furies-and-the-dark-side-of-womens-history/