Anna F. Duensing is a doctoral candidate jointly appointed in the History Department with a focus on the United States and the modern world, specializing in race and empire in 20th-century U.S. history, African American history, and modern German history. Her dissertation “Strange Victory: Cold War Civil Rights and the Long Shadow of Fascism” explores the entangled legacies of fascist and antifascist movements as they played out on the battlefield of the Black freedom struggle from the 1940s to 1980s. In the project, Duensing tells the intersecting, transnational stories of activists, soldiers, artists, journalists, intellectuals, and expats who after 1945 continued to find in fascism a powerful framework for critiquing racism, capitalism, white supremacy, and state violence in the teeth of liberal compromise, conservative resistance, and Cold War suppression. She argues that this discourse served as a long-term challenge to the patriotic antifascism which had marked the American war effort, a whitewashed national self-image which became a mainstay of postwar historical memory. Furthermore, by rejecting the dominant narrative of Allied victory, these perspectives called attention to a nagging anxiety of the postwar world, in the words of Paul Gilroy: “the danger that fascism is still somehow pending—a possibility that remains inherent in all attempts to organize social life according to orderly modern, raciological principles.”
Duensing’s wider research and teaching interests include U.S. immigration history, public history, Holocaust studies, histories of xenophobia and antisemitism, the global far right, and the American Conservative Movement. Her research has been generously supported by the Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Beinecke Library, the MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies, the Department of History, the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures, and the Yale Program for the Study of Antisemitism.
Duensing graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. concentration in History and Museum Studies from the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at New York University. With an avid commitment to public humanities, she has worked for a number of museums and institutions, including the National September 11 Museum, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Park Avenue Armory, the Henry Street Settlement House, the German-American Institute Heidelberg, and the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. She is from Charlottesville, Virginia.
Fall 2020 - HIST 232/ER&M 232: Hitler, Stalin, and Us, Prof. Timothy Snyder
Fall 2018 - AFAM 236/HIST 163J: Confronting Jim Crow in the Age of Fascism
Spring 2018 - AMST 411/686/FILM 453: Introduction to Documentary Studies, Prof. Matthew Jacobson
Fall 2017 - AFAM 125/AMST/EDST 130/ HIST 136: The Long Civil Rights Movement, Prof. Crystal Feimster