College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

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Andrew S. Denning

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences - History
Associate Professor
Director of Graduate Studies
Primary office:
Wescoe Hall
Room 2610
University of Kansas
1445 Jayhawk Blvd.
Lawrence, Kansas 66045


Twentieth-century Europe, particularly Germany, France, and Italy; mobility, environment, technology, leisure, consumerism, empire


Ph.D., History, University of California, Davis

M.A., History, University of California, Davis

B.A., History, with High Distinction, University of Nevada, Reno


Dr. Denning teaches a variety of graduate and undergraduate courses in twentieth-century Europe and the world seeking to demonstrate the transnational connections that developed in this century of intense nationalism. His courses utilize a wide array of primary source materials ranging from memoirs and political treatises to propaganda films, advertising posters, and graphic novels to encourage students to develop interpretations of the past drawn from diverse media. Students complete a range of assignments—from composing fictional historical autobiographies and recording podcasts to conducting research on oral histories of Holocaust survivors—to engage substantively and creatively with the past.



Andrew Denning studies mobility in twentieth-century Europe. He examines the movement of people, things, ideas, and practices to reconstruct transnational and global relationships, using the tools of cultural, technological, and environmental history. For an example of this work, see his recent article in American Historical Review on mobility in Nazi Germany. You can hear a podcast discussion of this work here.


Dr. Denning has published articles in a wide range of publications, including American Historical Review, The Atlantic, Environmental History (winner of the 2014 Joel A. Tarr Envirotech Article Prize), and Central European History. His first book, Skiing into Modernity: A Cultural and Environmental History (University of California Press, 2015), examines the relationship between skiers and the Alpine environment since the late nineteenth century 


His new book project, Automotive Empire: Cars, Roads, and the Mobilization of Eurafrica, 1900-1945, argues that European powers used road infrastructure and motor vehicles to develop a distinct form of "automotive empire" in Africa. The study's trans-imperial approach draws connections among Belgian, British, French, German, and Italian colonies to show that the technological and infrastructural imperatives of motor vehicles and roads in Africa shaped the administration of empire, social relations between colonizer and colonized, and the culture of the automobile in Europe. Aspects of this research are forthcoming in Environmental History (April 2019, on Italian roadbuilding in East Africa) and Technology and Culture (January 2020, on the relationship between the French auto manufacturer Citroën and the French state in Africa).


Dr. Denning previously held a fellowship at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, and his work has been supported by grants from the American Philosophical Society, German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), International Olympic Committee, and Wolfsonian-FIU, as well as the Hall Center for the Humanities and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Research Excellence Initiative at the University of Kansas.


Dr. Denning encourages potential graduate applicants interested in working on twentieth-century western Europe and/or any of his thematic areas of expertise to contact him about graduate study at KU.


Dr. Denning has performed a wide variety of service to the university and the profession. He focuses on issues of undergraduate pedagogy and development in particular; he has served as a faculty adviser for the Center for Undergraduate Research, a Diversity Scholar at the Center for Teaching Excellence, and Study Abroad Coordinator for the History Department.

Selected Publications

“Mobilizing Empire: The Citroën Central Africa Expedition and the Interwar Civilizing Mission,” Technology and Culture 61, no. 1 (Jan. 2020), forthcoming.

“Infrastructural Propaganda: The Visual Culture of Colonial Roads and the Domestication of Nature in Italian East Africa,” Environmental History 24, no. 2 (April 2019). 352-369.

“‘Life is Movement, Movement is Life!’: Mobility Politics and the Circulatory State in Nazi Germany,” American Historical Review 123, no. 5 (Dec. 2018), 1479-1503.

Skiing into Modernity: A Cultural and Environmental History (Oakland: University of California Press, 2015).

“From Sublime Landscapes to ‘White Gold’: How Skiing Transformed the Alps after 1930,” Environmental History 19, no. 1 (Jan. 2014), 78-108.

“Alpine Modern: Central European Skiing and the Vernacularization of Cultural Modernism, 1900-1939,” Central European History 46, no. 4 (Dec. 2013), 850-890.

Calendar of Events

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