Vanessa Ogle teaches and writes about the transnational history of Modern Europe. Prior to joining Penn's History Department in 2011 she completed a doctorate in International & Global History at Harvard University and earned a MA in Modern History from the Free University of Berlin. She has a background in both modern Western European and Middle Eastern history, and the interactions between Europe and the Middle East are one of her main areas of interest and expertise. In her dissertation, "Clocks, Calendars, and Conversion Charts: Reorganizing Time During the First Wave of Globalization, 1883-1939," (Harvard, 2011) Ogle explored one aspect of such transnational exchanges, the unification of clock times, calendars and cultural notions of time under the first modern wave of globalization around 1900.
More specifically, Vanessa Ogle is currently at work on a number of projects. The first consists in revising her dissertation for publication. The second is a biography of Elisabeth Achelis, the 'Calendar Woman,' as she was referred to, a rare female protagonist of interwar internationalism, who founded an NGO promoting the introduction of a neutral, standardized world calendar. Furthermore, she is in the process of writing two articles: the first, "When Nationalists of all Countries United: France, Time Reform, and Internationalism, 1880-1920," analyzes the relationship between internationalism and nationalism through the lens of the French involvement in time politics. The second, "The Many Worlds That Unifying Time Created, 1880-1930," is a broader argument about the dialectics of time reform and globalization around 1900.
Vanessa Ogle has recently begun research for future projects in which she will continue to pursue the sort of multi-archival, multi-language research that transnational history mandates. Entitled "Between Empires: An International History of Tangier, 1880-1960," Ogle’s next project connects local urban history to the international regime under which the city was placed for much of the twentieth century, to Spanish, French, and British imperial aspirations in the region, to the early Cold War in the Mediterranean, to Moroccan nationalism and ultimately independence, and to the several smugglers and spies who skillfully navigated all these dimensions of urban life. In the long run, she is also interested in the history of risk and modernity and the transnational history of capitalism in the Eastern Mediterranean. One angle from which she wants to look at these questions is to study how European insurance companies conquered the emerging markets of Egypt and the Levant around 1900, selling not only radically new products such as life and other insurances and sparking a heated debate among Muslim scholars, but also leading elites to raise questions about risk-taking and what it meant to be modern in the Eastern Mediterranean from roughly 1900-1950.
Vanessa Ogle’s teaching areas include courses on historical globalization, the history of European imperialism and colonialism, researching and writing transnational history, and the history of the Mediterranean as a contact zone between Europe and the Middle East. She welcomes students working on any aspect of transnational history and especially her own areas of interest. Please contact her with any questions you might have about transnational history at Penn.