Lorena De Vita is a historian of international relations. Her research analyses how the traumatic past (re)surfaces in international diplomatic settings, and her expertise combines a theoretical international relations approach with historical methods. Lorena De Vita's work traces the emergence of ways to deal with, and mediate, traumatic past(s) in the international domain, with a specific chronological focus that stretches from the second half of the 20th century until the present. At Utrecht University, she co-founded the Utrecht Global Cold War Group. She is a member of the Utrecht Forum for Memory Studies and of the interdisciplinary research cluster Institutions for Open Societies. Lorena De Vita is also a member of the Utrecht Young Academy.
Her first book: Israelpolitik: German-Israeli Relations 1949-1969 (Manchester University Press, 2020; paperback edition 2022) – praised by reviewers as ‘finely textured international history at its best’ – is based on research in archives from both sides of the Iron Curtain, across three continents and seven languages, as well as oral history interviews. The book analyses the contradictions and dilemmas that shaped the making of West and East German relations with Israel, in the aftermath of the Holocaust and at the outset of the global Cold War. Lorena De Vita’s new research project, Holocaust Diplomacy: The Global Politics of Memory and Forgetting (Alfred Landecker Foundation, €500,000), involves academics, museum staff, and policy-makers, in the attempt to map how a global memory of collective atrocities, and forms of reparation and atonement, emerge and change over time.
Lorena De Vita is the academic coordinator of a leading MA program in the field, in the Netherlands – International Relations in Historical Perspective. She has teaching experience at BA, MA, and Ph.D. levels on diplomatic history, methodological interdisciplinarity, and theoretical approaches to the international. A past recipient of the prestigious ‘Teacher Talent Award’, Lorena De Vita is now a member of the jury of all university-wide teaching prizes, and a member of the board of the Utrecht University Teaching Academy (TAUU-Council). She also serves as a coach for new Dutch and international lecturers at the Faculty of Humanities as a staff member of the bilingual Leergang Universitair Onderwijs – University Teaching Qualification Trajectory.
Lorena De Vita studied International Relations and History in Italy (Roma Tre), Germany (Onabrück), and the United Kingdom (London School of Economics), where she went on to pursue a Ph.D. at Aberystwyth University’s International Politics Department. She held competitive research and visiting fellowships at the Center for Twentieth Century History at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena, the Memorial House of the Wannsee Conference in Berlin, and the R. Koebner Minerva Center at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. From January to March 2023, she will be affiliated with the Department of Politics and International Relations at Oxford University.