Donatella Germanese

Research Scholar (Sep 2012-Jan 2025)


Donatella Germanese studies the interface between literature, the arts, and science. With a focus on the twentieth century, she examines how technology and scientific topics were discussed and further elaborated in literary theories, debates, and works. Corporate magazines in postwar Italy currently constitute the projects’ primary source, 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.

In 2020, Donatella began a collaboration with Maria Rentetzi (TU Berlin) on a joint edited volume. This aims to reconstruct, from new perspectives, 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.

Donatella also engages with translation studies, organizing a regular “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 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 (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.”

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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


CANCELED: 15th Scholars’ Forum for Literature and the History of Science


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


13th Scholars’ Forum for Literature and the History of Science


Presentations, Talks, & Teaching Activities

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

"'Industrial Literature' in Post-War Italy"

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

"Modernization and Militarization of Italian Classrooms During Fascism"

Conference, 7th ESHS Conference, Prague

"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

News & Press

Applications open for 14th Forum in Literature and Science History (deadline March 15, 2019)


Block Seminar “13th Scholars’ Forum for Literature and the History of Science” (deadline February 25, 2018)