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Portrait picture of Laura Downs

Laura Downs

Part-time Professor

Department of History

Contact info

[email protected]

[+39] 055 4686 571


Villa Salviati- Manica, SAMN225

Administrative contact

Laura Borgese

Working languages

English, French, Italian

Laura Downs

Part-time Professor

Department of History


Laura Lee Downs is Professor of History at the European University Institute and Principal Investigator on the ERC Advanced Grant project “Social Politics in European Borderlands, 1870s-1990s: A Comparative and Transnational History.” She is the author of Manufacturing Inequality: Gender division in the French and British metalworking industries, 1914-1939 (1995), which won the Pinckney Prize for the best book in French History written by a North American; Childhood in the Promised Land: Working-class movements and the colonies de vacances in France, 1880-1960 (2002); Writing Gender History (2nd edition, revised and expanded, Bloomsbury, 2010); Histoire des colonies de vacances de 1880 à nos jours (Paris, 2009); and, with Stéphane Gerson, Why France? American Historians Reflect on their Enduring Fascination (2006).

Her most recent publications include “Could a different approach to the history of European welfare lead us to tell a different history of Europe? A tale of cross-national collaborations,” in Sonja Levsen and Jörg Requate, eds., Why Europe, Which Europe? A debate on contemporary European history as a field of research. Special issue of Hypotheses November 2020 ; “Il était une fois…La démobilisation féminine, 1918-1919,” L’Humanité-Dimanche, 24-30 janvier 2019, 76-81 ; 'La piu’ serena italianizzazione?' Social action and nationalist politics in the North-eastern Adriatic borderlands (1919-1954), Acta Histriae 26/4 (December 2018), 1087-1102; « Quand les enfants des classes populaires devenaient ceux qui restent dans la ville pendant les grandes vacances d’été », Fondation jean Jaurès, Penser pour agir (6 juillet 2018) ; « Au revoir les enfants : Wartime evacuation and the politics of childhood in France and Britain, 1939-1945, » History Workshop Journal 81/2 (fall 2016), 1-39; ‘And so we transform a people’: Women’s Social Action and the Reconfiguration of Politics on the French Right, 1934-1947 », Past and Present, November 2014, 1-39.

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