PhD candidate Luke Gramith was awarded one of 65 competitive ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship. This year-long fellowship given to doctoral students in the humanities during the final year of dissertation-writing, will provide Luke with $38,000 to complete his dissertation. This funding will allow Luke follow-up research in Italy and Slovenia, as well as enable him to focus on full-time dissertation writing.
Luke's dissertation, Liberation by Emigration, explores how ordinary people from the northeastern Italian town of Monfalcone navigated and impacted the transitional years between the Second World War and the early Cold War, during which they suddenly found themselves situated along the emerging Iron Curtain, living in territory claimed by both anti-Communist Italy and Communist Yugoslavia. It examines how and why many of these ordinary Italians chose to ally themselves with the Communist world, participating in an unsuccessful campaign for Yugoslavia to annex their town and, when this failed, electing to emigrate eastward by the thousands. In the process, it explores what these ordinary people thought “Communism” would be, how this vision was shaped by their twenty-year experience of Fascist dictatorship, and how their choice to move eastward across the Iron Curtain helped polarize the world into Cold War camps.