Reuniting Families: Humanitarianism, Vatican Internationalism, and the End of Empire (1943-1950)


Mellon/ACLS Community College Faculty Fellowships


Modern Languages and Cultures


This project takes on the growing field of postwar Vatican diplomacy. It counters a top-down view of humanitarianism using untapped archival sources to center the experience of underage national refugees, specifically the 30,000 children of Italian settlers throughout the Empire who had been repatriated to Italy because of the impending war. Italy’s diminished global standing impeded its efforts to intervene, leaving an opening into which the Vatican stepped–to mixed success. By analyzing the temporary spaces the displaced children occupied and the intermediaries with whom they interacted, this interdisciplinary, transnational project complicates the conventional vision of the Vatican’s efforts to occupy a meaningful place in the postwar equilibrium