Stefano Petrungaro
History of Eastern Europe

What do you teach at Ca’ Foscari? What are your main research interests? 
I teach History of Eastern Europe. In my courses, I provide an overview of the history of this large area and its historical sub-regions (Russia/USSR, Central and Eastern Europe, the Balkans), while also offering in-depth analysis of topics related to my research, especially in the Master's degree programmes. I am interested in social and cultural history, with a focus on social inequalities, poverty, social discipline and labour. I have also worked on violence, collective memories and political exploitation of the past. 

Tell us about your academic path.
After my PhD (Venice-London), I had a few fellowships (Padua) and teaching and research experiences abroad (Zagreb, Leipzig). Before coming to the DSLCC I was a senior researcher at a research institution in Germany (Institute for East and Southeast European Studies, Regensburg).

What are your professional role models / references?
Those who managed to retain a genuine love for studying and interacting with students.

Have you always known that this was going to be your path? 
No, I went through different phases: at first, I thought it was fascinating but unlikely, then I started to convince myself that I would really like it, and I almost concluded that it was a dead end.

What does teaching and researching mean to you?
For me, teaching is more and more about making the knowledge gained through research available to a much wider audience than the circle of specialists. The challenge is to provide and receive stimuli for a refined reflection on societies (past and present) in order to counter certain attitudes that are very harmful to coexistence.

What has given you the greatest satisfaction in your career?
Students' appreciation.

The area you have always wanted to be involved in but have not yet had the opportunity to explore?
I would like to explore the political use of corpse exhumation from mass graves in a cross-border and comparative perspective.

What would you say to young people starting their university career?
Let yourself be passionate.

And to those approaching research today?
That it is a wonderful job, but not for many.

Why Ca’ Foscari and Venice?
Because there is a deep-rooted multidisciplinary focus on Eastern Europe.

Last update: 28/02/2023