College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Andrew S. Denning

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences - History
Assistant Professor
Primary office:
Wescoe Hall
Room 3639
University of Kansas
1445 Jayhawk Blvd.
Lawrence, Kansas 66045

Twentieth-century Europe, particularly Germany, France, and Italy; mobility studies; environmental history; history of technology; leisure and consumption; transnationalism; empire and global history


Ph.D., History, University of California, Davis

M.A., History, University of California, Davis

B.A., History, with High Distinction, University of Nevada, Reno


Professor Denning teaches a variety of graduate and undergraduate courses in twentieth-century Europe, seeking to demonstrate the transnational connections that developed in this century of intense nationalism. His courses utilize a wide array of primary source materials ranging from memoirs and political treatises to propaganda films, advertising posters, and graphic novels to encourage students to develop interpretations of the past drawn from diverse media.


Andrew Denning's research lies at the intersection of technology, the environment, and mass culture and places the study of Europe into its transnational and global contexts. He is currently working on a number of projects that examine Europeans’ relationships to nature, space, and mobility across the globe.

His book, Skiing into Modernity: A Cultural and Environmental History (University of California Press, 2015), examines the relationship between skiers and the Alpine environment since the late nineteenth century. It argues that skiing and winter tourism modernized the Alps in both material and perceptual terms while the Alpine landscape itself challenged skiers to alter their practices and philosophies of sport, leisure, and nature, harmonizing Alpine skiing with modern cultural values and social practices in the twentieth century.

He is currently at work on a new project. Civilization through Motorization: Vehicles and Roads in Europe's African Empires, 1900-1945 examines how vehicles and road projects became both organizing principles of colonial administration and the lens through which Europeans viewed and experienced Africa. It places distinct African colonies and European automotive cultures into a common analytic frame, tracing connections among the Belgian, British, French, German, and Italian empires. Simultaneously, it highlights the role of common Africans as laborers, mechanics, and drivers in Europeans' civilizing project who possessed environmental and cultural knowledge that the imperialists ignored at their peril.

Selected Publications

Denning, A. (2015). Transports of Speed. In M. Saler (Ed.), The Fin-de-siècle World (pp. 380-391). New York and London: Routledge.

Denning, A. (2015). Skiing into Modernity: A Cultural and Environmental History, Berkeley: University of California Press.

Denning, A. (2015). How Skiing Went from the Alps to the Masses. The Atlantic (online).

Denning, A. (2014). From Sublime Landscapes to ‘White Gold:’ How Skiing Transformed the Alps after 1930. Environmental History, 19(1), 78-108.

Denning, A. (2013). Alpine Modern: Central European Skiing and the Vernacularization of Cultural Modernism, 1900-1939. Central European History, 46(4), 850-890.

Expert instruction in Arabic, Kiswahili, and Wolof at the beginning and intermediate levels will be offered over eight weeks in June-July 2018.

Foreign Language & Area Studies Fellowships

The Kansas African Studies Center has received $140,000 in funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities to launch public discussions, community programming, and the creation of educational resources in local communities to discuss the challenges and opportunities surrounding recent demographic changes in the region. Visit to learn more. 

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