Donatella Germanese outdoors, smiling into the camera

Donatella Germanese

Research Scholar (Sep 2012-Jan 2025)


Donatella Germanese studies the interface between literature, the arts, technology and science. With a focus on the twentieth century, she examines how technology and scientific topics were presented to the public, and how they were elaborated in literary theories, debates, and works. 

In 2020, Donatella started a collaboration with Maria Rentetzi (FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg) on the history of atomic mobile exhibitions shown around the world during the Cold War, their role in science diplomacy, as well as their culturally performative aspects. As a result, in 2023 they edited a Special Issue for the journal Annals of Science: “Science Diplomacy on Display: Mobile Atomic Exhibitions in the Cold War.” 

Corporate magazines in postwar Italy constitute further a group of Donatella’s primary sources, as they offered authors and readers interesting sites of encounter for the popularization of technology and science, and for literature, photography, and the fine arts to engage with modern industrial society. Donatella’s research keeps in mind the legacy of Italy’s fascist past, inclusive of its crimes, contradictions, and push towards modernity.

Donatella also engages with translation studies, organizing a “Science in Translation” reading group at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science.

Donatella studied philology, foreign languages, and literature at the University of Florence. She completed her doctoral degree in 1998 in German Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin with a monograph on the literary journal Pan (1910–15). Her general research interests include science popularization, modern and contemporary German, French, and Italian fine arts and literatures.

Donatella is Associated Scholar at the Chair of Science, Technology and Gender Studies at FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg; she was a Visiting Scholar at the European University Institute in Florence in 2015–16, at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University in 2009–10, and a member of the study group led by Mazzino Montinari at the Wissenschaftskolleg Berlin in 1985–86.



Epistemic Configurations: The Formation of Anthropocene Knowledge


IV. Anthropocene Formations


Oil Corporate Magazines in the 1950s and 1960s


Science and Technology in Italian Postwar Cultural Journals


Selected Publications

Germanese, Donatella (2023). “The Ingredients of a Successful Atomic Exhibition in Cold War Italy.” Annals of Science 80 (1): 10–37.

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Rentetzi, Maria and Donatella Germanese (2023). “Science Diplomacy on Display: Mobile Atomic Exhibitions in the Cold War: Introduction to Special Issue.” Annals of Science 80 (1): 1–9.

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Germanese, Donatella (2021). “L’ardua democrazia: la stampa aziendale Pirelli (1945–1948).” Passato e presente XXXIX (113): 83–102.

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Germanese, Donatella (2018). “‘Una forza universale incomparabile’: petrolio e sublime nelle riviste aziendali degli anni ’50.” Azimuth 6 (12): 31–44.

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Germanese, Donatella (2017). “‘We Will Make Europe There’: Italian Intellectuals in Search of Europe and America in Hitler’s Germany.” Modern Intellectual History 14 (2): 451–476.

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Germanese, Donatella (2014). “‘Civiltà delle macchine’ (1953-1979).” Parolechiave 51: 145–152.

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Germanese, Donatella, ed. (2011). Siena. Eine literarische Einladung. SALTO. Berlin: Klaus Wagenbach Verlag.

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Germanese, Donatella (2005). “Antihelden auf Goethes Spuren: Italien als Schauplatz bei Hans-­Ulrich Treichel,.” 2005.

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Germanese, Donatella (2000). Pan (1910–1915). Schriftsteller im Kontext einer Zeitschrift. Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann.

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Germanese, Donatella (1992). “L’angelo e il poeta. Alcune considerazioni sul motivo dell’angelo in Rilke e George.” In Tra simbolismo e avanguardie. Studi dedicati a Ferruccio Masini, ed. C. Graziadei, 83-­95. Roma: Editori Riuniti.

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Past Events


16. Studientag: Literatur und Wissenschaftsgeschichte


14th Scholars’ Forum for Literature and the History of Science


Presentations, Talks, & Teaching Activities

The Atomic Exhibition: Design and Politics

10th International ESHS Conference, Brussels

The Traveling Atomic Exhibition in Cold War Italy

Chair of Science, Technology and Gender Studies at FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg

Visual Arts and Communication in Postwar Industry: The Visual Arts in Esso Magazines

Bibliotheca Hertziana Max-Planck-Institut für Kunstgeschichte

The Italian Atomic Exhibition on Wheels, on the Screen, and on Paper

Conference, 9th International ESHS Conference, Bologna (virtual)

Explaining Progress with Dinosaurs

Conference, 13th European Conference of the Society for Science, Literature & the Arts, National Hellenic Research Foundation, Athens

Petroleum and the Sublime in Industrial Magazines of the 1950s

Conference, 3rd International Conference on Science and Literature, Sorbonne University, Paris

Industries, Petroculture, and Ecocriticism in Literature and Science

Workshop, Future Challenges in the History of Science, MPIWG

Modernization and Militarization of Italian Classrooms During Fascism

Conference, 7th ESHS Conference, Prague

Industrial Literature' in Post-War Italy

Conference, Beyond Nature in Science and Literature, The International Commission on Science and Literature, Syros, Hermoupolis

Fascist 'Talking Blackboards': Italian Educational Film and Radio Broadcast Under Fascism and Beyond

Under Control. Childhood and Twentieth Century Dictatorships (1917–1991), University of Warwick

Civiltà delle Macchine (1953-1979)—An Italian Journal Connects Art, Science, and Technology

Conference, 6th ESHS Conference, Lisbon

Nachrichten & Presse

Forschung von Donatella Germanese wird im Artikel von Civiltà delle Macchine erwähnt


14. Studientag: Literatur und Wissenschaftsgeschichte


Blockseminar „13. Studientag für Literatur und Wissenschaftsgeschichte“ (Deadline 25. Februar 2018)