Andrew Denning

an image of a man in a blue shirt looking at the camera
  • Associate Professor
  • Director, Museum Studies Program
  • Twentieth-century Europe (Germany, France and Italy); Mobility; Environment; Technology; Leisure; Consumerism; Empire

Contact Info

Wescoe Hall, Room 2610
Office Hours:
By Appointment | Sign up via Calendly below
Tu./Thu.: 2:30 PM - 4:00 PM | Wescoe Hall, Room 2610
Wed.: 10:30 AM - 12:30 PM | Snow Hall, Room 307


Andrew Denning studies mobility in twentieth-century Europe and beyond. Using the tools of cultural, technological, and environmental history, he examines the movement of people, goods, ideas, and practices to reconstruct transnational and global relationships.

His new book, Automotive Empire: How Cars and Roads Fueled European Colonialism in Africa, is forthcoming with Cornell University Press in 2024. It argues that European powers used road infrastructure and motor vehicles to develop a distinct form of "automotive empire" in Africa between 1895 and 1940. The study's transimperial approach draws connections among Belgian, British, French, German, Italian, and Portuguese colonies to show that the technological and infrastructural imperatives of motor vehicles and roads in Africa shaped colonial governance and social relations, as well as the culture of the automobile in Europe.

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, showing how the sport of skiing modernized the Alps in material and cultural terms in the twentieth century.

He is also co-editor, with Heidi J.S. Tworek (University of British Columbia), of The Interwar World (Routledge, 2024), which offers the first comprehensive, global treatment of the tempestuous interwar decades.

Dr. Denning has also published articles in a wide range of publications, including American Historical Review(see also here)The AtlanticEnvironmental History, Journal of Modern History, Technology & Cultureand Central European History

Dr. Denning held a fellowship at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada before coming to KU, and his work has been supported by grants from the American Council of Learned Societies, 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, empire, mobility, and/or technology to contact him about graduate study at KU.


Ph.D. in History, University of California, Davis
M.A. in History, University of California, Davis
B.A. in History, University of Nevada, Reno


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


Selected Publications

Automotive Empire: How Cars and Roads Fueled European Colonialism in Africa(Ithaca: Cornell University Press, forthcoming 2024).

Editor, with Heidi J.S. Tworek, The Interwar World (London: Routledge, 2024).

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

"Unscrambling Africa: From Eurafrican Technopolitics to the Fascist New Order," Journal of Modern History (2023).

Deep Play? Video Games and the Historical Imaginary,” American Historical Review 126, no. 1 (2021), 180-198.

Mobilizing Empire: The Citroën Central Africa Expedition and the Interwar Civilizing Mission,”  Technology and Culture 61, no. 1 (Jan. 2020), 42-70.

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.