Thomas Cragin 🖂
Professor of History
Ph.D. in History with Honors, Indiana University, Bloomington 1996
M. A. in History, Indiana University, Blomington, 1989
B. A. in History and Economics, Trinity University, San Antonio, 1987.
Modern European History
I am a cultural historian of France and Italy. My earliest publications were a series of articles on the popular press in France and Italy. Bucknell University Press published my first book on the popular press in 19th-century France, Murder in Parisian Streets, in 2006. My most recent work deals with the representation of World War II in cinema and national memory. This work has resulted in papers and articles and it will lead to the completion of a larger book project. In all these works I have been particularly interested in the ways that media shape our perceptions of our world and more specifically of its political and social institutions, our gender relations and our ideals.
I teach a broad range of courses at Muhlenberg College, including two introductions to history and a series of surveys of European history that span from 1787 to the present. I also offer focused courses on many subjects, ranging from the French Revolution and Napoleon to Sex and Gender in Europe. When I teach our advanced Reading and Research Seminars for our majors and minors, I focus the courses on World War II in national memory and cinema. My courses sometimes reflect my research interests, but they range far beyond those to address political, intellectual, diplomatic, military, social, gender and cultural history.
Revolution & the Birth of Modern Europe (c.1787-1919)
Civil War, Holocaust, Crisis: Europe 1900-1945
From Cold War to Unification: Europe 1945-Present
The French Revolution and Napoleon
France from Napoleon to the Great War, 1814-1914
Gender & Sex in European History
World War II in Cinema
Recent Publications and Presentations:
Resistance, Heroism, Loss: World War II in Italian Literature and Film. Co-edited by Laura Salsini. Farleigh Dickinson University Press, 2018.
"Contested Anti-Fascisms in Luigi Zampa’s Anni Difficili, 1948-1949,” Italian Studies, 71:4 (2016): 496-514.
“Conflicting Interpretations of Rome, Open City in 1945 Italy,” Historical Journal of Radio, Film, and Television 36:2 (2016): 203-219.
“Teaching Italian History through Cinema,” paper presented at American Association of Teachers of Italian with the ACTFL, San Antonio, Texas, November 2014.
“’Only a few have survived . . . to cultivate a memory.’: Rival Visions of Resistance in Postwar Cinema,” paper presented at North East Modern Language Association annual conference, Harrisburg, April 2014.
“Transformations of Italian Imperialism: Greece from Soldatesse (1965) to Mediterraneo (1991),” article in Journal of Italian Cinema and Media Studies, 1:3 (September 2013): 279-294.
“The Uses of Tiro al piccione for Two Centuries: Its Past and Future,” paper presented at International Conference on the Arts and Humanities in Perugia, Italy, June, 2013.
“Rome, Open City’s Place in 1945 Italy,” paper presented at American Association of Teachers of Italian, Strasbourg, France, May 30-June 2, 2013.
“Summoning the Spirit of Vichy and the Resistance: The Bridge on the River Kwai and the Transformation of French Public Memory,” article in Modern & Contemporary France, (2013): 1-20.
“À bas la guillotine! Vive la bourgeoisie? Lacenaire and The Widow of Saint Pierre,” article in Fiction and Film for French Historians, 3:3 (December 2012).
"Remaking the War in its Immediate Aftermath: Leftist Cinema 1948-1950," paper presented at American Association of Teachers of Italian, Philadelphia, November, 2012.
"A Plea for Pardon in the Midst of the Epurazione: Due Letter Anonime, 1945," paper presented at American Association of Teachers of Italian, Erice, Italy, May 25-30, 2011.
"Organizer and Chairperson, "Italian Cinema since World War II," American Association of Italian Studies, Pittsburgh, Apr 7-9, 2011.
Imagining the Fascist Occupation of Greece: Cinematic Constructions from 1965 to 1991,” paper presentation at the Northeast Modern Languages Association Conference, Montreal, Canada, April 2010.
“Remembering Atrocities, Forgetting Agency: A Problem of History, Memory,and a Novel,” paper presentation at Muhlenberg College Humanities Seminar, March 2010.
“‘Ma qual è la nostra Patria, sergente?’: Tiro al piccione and the Politics of Memory,” Italica 86:3 (2009).
“Memory of a Mediterranean Empire in Recent Italian Films on World War II,” paper presentation at Meditarranean Studies Association conference, Sardinia, Italy, May 2009.
“Making Anti-Fascism into Fascism: The Political Transformation of Tiro al piccione (1961),” Film & History 38:2 (2008): 11-20.
“From Collabo to Hero: The Transformation of Bridge on the River Kwai,” paper presentation at 32nd Annual Colloquium on Literature and Film: Revisiting the Past in Contemporary Literature and Film, West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia, September 11-13, 2008.
“Cold War Politics in Rimanelli’s Tiro al piccione,” American Association of Italian Studies conference, Taormina, Sicily, May 2008.
“The War Epic and French National Memory: France Responds to Paris brule-t-il?” Society for French Historical Studies Annual Conference, Houston, Texas, March 2007.
“Black Caps, Black Hearts? The New Fascist in Italian National Memory, 1961-1962," American Association of Italian Studies Annual Conference, Genoa, Italy, May 2006.
“Hollywood’s World War Two and French National Memory,” Society for French Historical Studies, Champaigne-Urbana, Illinois, April 2006.
Murder in Parisian Streets: Constructing and Marketing Crime, Justice, and Social Order. Bucknell University Press, 2006.