Twentieth-century Europe, particularly Germany and France; mobility studies; environmental history; history of technology; leisure and consumption; transnationalism; empire and global history
Professor Denning teaches a variety of graduate and undergraduate courses in twentieth-century Europe, 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.
Andrew Denning's research lies at the intersection of cultural and environmental history and places the study of Europe into its transnational and global contexts. He is currently working on a number of projects that examine Europeans’ relationships to nature, space, and mobility across the globe.
His 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. It argues that skiing and winter tourism modernized the Alps in both material and perceptual terms while the Alpine landscape itself challenged skiers to alter their practices and philosophies of sport, leisure, and nature, harmonizing Alpine skiing with modern cultural values and social practices in the twentieth century.
He is currently at work on a new project. Driving into Darkness: Trans-African Automobile Expeditions and the Spectacle of Empire examines European attempts to traverse Africa by automobile in the early twentieth century. It demonstrates that Westerners possessed and conquered colonial space and defined racial relationships through their mastery of speed and technology, while the popularity of these transports in the modern mass media allowed the public to actively “consume” the landscapes and cultures of Africa.
Denning, A. (2015). Transports of Speed. In M. Saler (Ed.), The Fin-de-siècle World (pp. 380-391). New York and London: Routledge.
Denning, A. (2015). Skiing into Modernity: A Cultural and Environmental History, Berkeley: University of California Press.
Denning, A. (2015). How Skiing Went from the Alps to the Masses. The Atlantic (online). http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/02/how-skiing-went-from-the-alps-to-the-masses/385691/
Denning, A. (2014). From Sublime Landscapes to ‘White Gold:’ How Skiing Transformed the Alps after 1930. Environmental History, 19(1), 78-108.
Denning, A. (2013). Alpine Modern: Central European Skiing and the Vernacularization of Cultural Modernism, 1900-1939. Central European History, 46(4), 850-890.