Enzo Traverso

Susan and Barton Winokur Professor in the Humanities


Enzo Traverso is a historian of modern and contemporary Europe. His research focuses on the intellectual history and the political ideas of the twentieth century. War, fascism, genocide, revolution, and collective memory are the landmarks of his numerous books. He was born in Italy, studied history at the University of Genoa and received his PhD from the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) in Paris in 1989. Before coming to Cornell in 2013, he taught political science for twenty years in France. He has been a visiting professor in several European and Latin American universities. His authored books are translated into more than fifteen languages, and he has contributed to many collected works and. Beyond his books, Traverso’s articles and reviews have been published in History & Theory, Constellations, Historical Materialism, South Atlantic Quarterly, October, Totalitarian Movements & Political Religions, Revue française de science politique, Raisons politiques, Storia e storiografia, Contemporanea, Pasajes, Acta Poetica. He has received several awards for his historical essays, including the Premio Pozzale, Empoli, Florence (2014); the Premio Lo Straniero/Gli Asini, Lecce (2018); and the Premio Napoli (2022). His political commentaries have appeared in journals and magazines such as Jacobin, Salvage, La Quinzaine littéraire, Contretemps, Lignes, L’Espill, Nueva Sociedad, and the Italian newspaper Il Manifesto.

Research Focus

  • Intellectual History
  • Historiography
  • Jewish History
  • Memory Studies
  • Critical Theory
  • Marxism


  • The European Civil War 1914-1945
  • Left-Wing Melancholia
  • The Holocaust in Postwar Culture (1945-1961)
  • The Holocaust and History Writing
  • Vogliamo Tutto! The Italian 1970s
  • French Memories
  • Intellectuals: A French History
  • Totalitarianism: Between History and Theory
  • Revolution: An Intellectual History
  • The Invention of Italy




  • Left-Wing Melancholia: Marxism, History, and Memory, New York: Columbia University Press, 2017 (translated into French and Italian, forthcoming in Greek and Spanish).
  • The European Civil War 1914-1945, London-New York: Verso, 2016 (original French, translated into Italian, Spanish, German, and Greek).
  • The End of Jewish Modernity, London: Pluto Books, 2016 (original French, translated into Italian, Spanish, German).
  • The Origins of Nazi Violence, New York: The New Press, 2003 (original French, translated into German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Polish, and Greek).
  • Understanding the Nazi Genocide: Marxism after Auschwitz, London: Pluto Press, 1999 (original French, translated into Swedish and German).
  • The Jews and Germany: From the “Judeo-German Symbiosis” to the Memory of Auschwitz, Lincoln: Nebraska University Press, 1995 (original French, translated into Italian, German, Spanish, and Japanese).
  • The Marxists and the Jewish Question: The History of a Debate (1843-1943), Atlantic Highlands & London: Humanities Press, 1994 (original French, translated into German, Spanish, Japanese, and Turkish).
  • Où sont passes les intellectuels? Conversations avec Régis Mairan, Textuel, Paris, 2013 (translated into Italian and Spanish).
  • L’histoire comme champ de bataille: Interpréter les violences du xxe siècle, Paris: La Découverte, 2011 (translated into Italian, Spanish, German, Greek, and Polish)
  • Le passé, modes d’emploi. Histoire, mémoire, politique, Paris: La fabrique, 2005 (translated into Italian, Spanish, German, Turkish, and Portuguese).
  • La pensée dispersée. Figures de l’exil judéo-allemand, Paris: Lignes, 2003 (translated into Italian and Spanish).
  • Il totalitarismo: Storia di un dibattito, Milano: Bruno Mondadori, 2002; new, enlarged edition Verona: Ombre Corte, 2015 (translated into Spanish and Japanese).
  • L’Histoire déchirée: Essai sur Auschwitz et les intellectuels, Paris: Éditions du Cerf, 1997 (translated into Italian, Spanish, German, Japanese, Czech)
  • Siegfried Kracauer: Itinéraire d’un intellectuel nomade, Paris: La Découverte, 1994 (new edition 2006, translated into Spanish).

Edited Books

  • Le totalitarisme. Le XXe siècle en débat, Paris: Seuil, 2001.
  • Storia della Shoah. La crisi dell’Europa, lo sterminio degli ebrei e la mémoria del XX secolo, (edited with Marina Cattaruzza, Marcello Flores, Simon Levis Sullam), Torino: UTET, 2005-2006, 2 vol.
  • Storia della Shoah in Italia. Vicende, memorie, rappresentazioni, (edited with M. Flores, S. Levis-Sullam, M.-A. Matard-Bonucci), Torino: UTET, 2010, 2 vol.

Selected Recent Book Chapters

  • “Entre le savant et le politique. Max Weber contre les intellectuels”, in Michael Löwy (ed.), Max Weber et les paradoxes de la modernité, Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 2012, pp. 109-128 (translated into Spanish).
  • “Les juifs et la ‘ligne de couleur’”, in Sylvie Laurent, Thierry Leclère (ed.), De quelle couleur sont les Blancs?, Paris: La Découverte, 2013, pp. 252-261.
  • “European Intellectuals and the First World War: Trauma and New Cleavages,” in Alex Anievas (ed.), Cataclysm 1914: World War I and the Making of Modern World Politics, Leiden-Boston: Brill, 2015, pp. 201-215.
  • “Prologue. 1914-1945: Le Monde au Prisme de la Guerre”, in Alya Aglan, Robert Frank (eds), 1937-1947: La Guerre-monde, Paris: Gallimard, 2015, vol. 1, pp. 23-58 (translated into Italian).
  • “Antifascism Between Collective Memory and Historical Revisions,” in Hugo Garcia, Mercedes Justa, Xavier Tabet (eds), Rethinking Antifascism, Oxford: Berghahan Books, 2016, pp. 321-338.
  • “Primo Levi: Memory and Enlightenment,” in Jacques Picard, Jacques Revel, Michael Steinberg, Judith Zertal (eds), Modern Jewish Thinkers, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2016, pp. 520-534.
  • “Polarisations idéologiques,” in Christoph Charle, Laurent Jeanpierre (eds), La vie culturelle en France, vol. 2 De 1914 à nos jours, Paris: Editions du Seuil, 2016, pp. 201-226.

Selected Recent Articles

  • “Interpreting Fascism: Mosse, Sternhell and Gentile in Comparative Perspective,” Constellations, 2008, vol. 15, no 3, pp. 303-319.
  • “The Furies: Violence and Terror in the French and Russian Revolution”, Historical Materialism, 2008, vol. 16, no 4, pp. 205-212.
  • “Marx, l’histoire et les historiens : Une relation à réinventer,”
Actuel Marx, 2011/2, no 50, p. 153-163.
  • “Le cabinet du Dr. Kracauer”, Illusio, 2013, no 10/11, pp. 367-376 (translated into Spanish).
  • “Illuminismo e anti-illuminismo: La storia delle idee di Zev Sternhell,” Storiografia, 2014, vol. 18, pp. 215-225.
  • “Rethinking the Nineteenth Century: On Jürgen Osterhammel, The Transformation of the World,” Constellations, 2014, vol. 21, no 3, pp. 425-431.
  • “Spectres du fascisme: Les métamorphoses des droites radicales au XXIe siècle,” Le Crieur, 2015, no 1, pp. 104-121 (translated into Spanish and German).
  • “Daniel Bensaïd Between Marx and Benjamin,” Historical Materialism, 2016, vol. 24, no 4, pp. 170-191.
  • “Imágenes melancólicas: El cine de la revoluciones vencidas,” Acta Poetica, 2017, vol. 38, no 1, pp. 13-48.
  • “Historicizing Communism: A Twentieth Century Chameleon,” forthcoming in Southern Atlantic Quarterly, 2017.

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