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Vibeke Sørensen Grant for Research on Europe and the atomic fear

Posted on 30 October 2017

“I found this book by Lawrence Wittner, who is an American historian, about the global anti-nuclear movement in the US, so basically Wittner gave me the idea for my dissertation,“ says Angela Santese, one of this year’s Postgraduate Vibeke Sørensen Grant winners.

Santese, adjunct professor in the History of European Integration, teaching assistant of contemporary history and Post doctorate Fellow at the University of Bologna, is shifting her interests in the anti-nuclear movement away from the United States towards Europe.

“I basically have three case studies: Italy, the UK, and Germany, as well as a transnational European dimension,” she says. “I’m trying to understand whether at the level of the European Community, there was a debate about the nuclear issue; also if and in what ways the European institutions were influenced by the anti-nuclear upheaval of the 80s.”

Her research proposal is entitled ‘Europe and atomic fear: the community’s responsibility for anti-nuclear movements (1977-1987) and aims to explore the following subjects: the impact of antinuclear activity at an European level, the transnational character of the nuclear movement, the environmental connotation of the antinuclear movement, and the impact of anti-nuclear movement on European public opinion. She expects the archives to give her a better idea of the situation, particularly the European parliamentary debates and the Western European Assembly.

She adds, “I hope to find the same dynamics I identified for the US anti-nuclear movement. The Reagan administration was worried about public opinion and reaction to the nuclear issues, the nuclear scare. I hope to find the same thing at the level of the European Community.”

Santese applied for a Vibeke Sørenson Grant after being told by colleagues that the European University Institute and its Archives were a “research paradise”. But she argues that although the Archives are a great resource, it is the feeling of “being a part of a research community” that she likes best about being at the EUI in Florence.

She will be presenting her research at a seminar held by the Alcide De Gasperi Research Centre on November 17.