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Mary Nolan on The Transatlantic Century: Europe and America, 1890–2010
Mary Nolan speaks on her latest book, The Transatlantic Century: Europe and America, 1890–2010 (Cambridge University Press, 2012). The Transatlantic Century is a fascinating new overview of European-American relations during the long twentieth century. With discussant Thomas Bender, Professor of History & University Professor of the Humanities, NYU. Ranging from economics, culture and consumption to war, politics and diplomacy, Mary Nolan charts the rise of American influence in Eastern and Western Europe, its mid-twentieth century triumph and its gradual erosion since the 1970s. She reconstructs the circuits of exchange along which ideas, commodities, economic models, cultural products and people moved across the Atlantic, capturing the differing versions of modernity that emerged on both sides of the Atlantic and examining how these alternately produced co-operation, conflict and ambivalence toward the other. Attributing the rise and demise of American influence in Europe not only to economics but equally to wars, the book locates the roots of many transatlantic disagreements in very different experiences and memories of war. This is an unprecedented account of the American Century in Europe that recovers its full richness and complexity.
Mary Nolan is a Professor of History at NYU and holds the Lillian Vernon Professorship for Teaching Excellence. She was trained as a Modern German historian and has written on German social and labor history and on the politics of Holocaust and World War II memory in Germany. Her research now focuses on twentieth-century European-American relations, economic, political and cultural. She has written on anti-Americanism and Americanization in Europe as well as on American anti-Europeanism. Her next project involves the pivotal decade of the 1970s. She teaches classes on the Cold War in Europe and America, Women and Gender in Modern Europe, Human Rights and Humanitarian Interventions, and Consumption and Consumer Culture. She is on the editorial boards of International Labor and Working-class History and of Politics and Society.
Thomas Bender is an intellectual and cultural historian who work focuses on the United States, which has in the past decade or more has increasingly focused on transnational connections and the global framing of the history of North America, beginning with earliest European ventures out onto the Atlantic to the present. He is interested in the ways ideas and institutions shape each other and drive historical change. His early work focused on the cultural meaning of cities and the meaning community in the United States from the colonial period to the end of the nineteenth century. He has also been a leader in the movement to reframe United States history in transnational and global frameworks, most notably with Rethinking American History in a Global Age (2002) and A Nation Among Nations: America’s Place in World History (2006).