Clelia Caruso teaches and conducts research on 19th and 20th century Western European and North American history. Her research focuses on migration and communication history. She researches both topics from the perspective of a social- and cultural-historically oriented transnational history of entanglements. Clelia Caruso has taught at various universities on the social, cultural and media history of Germany, Spain, Italy, Great Britain, France and the USA since the 19th century.

After studying history, political science, and Italian philology, she earned her doctorate at the University of Trier. There she was employed as a research assistant. This was followed by employments at the German Historical Institute in Washington and Saarland University, before her work at Kassel University since 2016.

Her dissertation is entitled "Temporary Migration and Transnational Lifestyles. Italians in a Walloon Mining Community after 1945." (Cologne et al., 2019). The monograph examines the transnational lifestyles of postwar Italian migrants in a Walloon mining community. She uses the example of this group to show how the intentional temporary nature of migration during longer stays gave rise to a migrant lifestyle permanently characterized by provisionality and perpetuated it over decades. Her current research project is dedicated to a cultural history of telephoning in (West) Germany and the USA. The focus is on the question of the connection between the everydayization of mediatized intimate communication and the change in widespread conceptions of intimacy in the 20th century.

Education and academic stations

M.A. (with distinction), History, Italian Philology, Political Science - University of Trier


PhD (summa cum laude), History - University of Trier; Examiners: Prof. Dr. Lutz Raphael, Prof. Dr. Andreas Gestrich


Research Assistant, Chair of Modern and Contemporary History, University of Trier


Research Assistant, SFB 600, Subprojects A 5 and SYN, University of Trier


Research Associate, German Historical Institute, Washington DC

2008-2011Research Associate, Heidelberg Center for American Studies (HCA)
2011-2017Research Associate, German Historical Institute, Washington DC


Maternity leave and parental leave

02/2015-07/2015Max Weber Foundation Research Fellow at Saarland University, Chair of Cultural and Media History.
Since 01/04/2016Lecturer for special tasks at the Chair of History of Western Europe from the 18th to the 20th century.


  • Temporary Migration and Transnational Lifestyles. Italians in a Walloon mining community after 1945. Vienna; Cologne; Weimar 2019 [Industrielle Welt. Schriftenreihe des Arbeitskreises für moderne Sozialgeschichte, vol. 93].



  • (with Jenny Pleinen and Lutz Raphael). Postwar Mediterranean Migration to Western Europe. Legal and Political Frameworks, Social Mobility and Memory. Frankfurt a.M. [et al.] 2008.
  • (with the working group Visual and Linguistic Representations of Foreignness and Poverty). The 'Other' Family. Representation-critical analyses from the early modern period to the present. Frankfurt a.M. [et al.] 2013.


Essays in journals

  • Migrant Brokerage. Organizing Political Campaigns and Negotiating Rituals in Transnational Political Fields, in Altreitalie 40 (gennaio-giugno 2010): 26-54.
  • Modernity Calling. Interpersonal Communication and the Telephone in Germany and the United States, 1880-1990, in: GHI Bulletin 50 (Spring 2012): 93-105.


Essays in edited volumes

  • Participation politique et commémoration de la migration dans un espace social transnational. La "petite Italie" de Seraing (Belgique) entre intégration et diaspora, in Petites Italies dans l'Europe du Nord-Ouest. Appartenances territoriales et identités collectives à l'ère de la migration italienne de masse, ed. v. Judith Rainhorn. Valenciennes 2005, 165-174.
  • La mémoire collective des Italiens de Seraing. Rites et cérémonies commémoratifs entre mémoire locale, mémoires nationales et mémoire européenne, in Postwar Mediterranean Migration to Western Europe. Legal and Political Frameworks, Social Mobility and Memory, ed. by Clelia Caruso, Jenny Pleinen, and Lutz Raphael. Frankfurt a.M. [et al.] 2008, 233-261.
  • Inclusion Opportunities and Exclusion Risks: Mediterranean Labor Migration and European Migration Policies, in Postwar Mediterranean Migration to Western Europe. Legal and Political Frameworks, Social Mobility and Memory, ed. by Clelia Caruso, Jenny Pleinen, and Lutz Raphael. Frankfurt a.M. [et al.] 2008, 9-35.
  • Migrants as useful workers, carriers of progress, and victims of labor. Extensions of the "labor" argument in response to exclusions of migrant workers from national solidarity networks, in Between Exclusion and Solidarity. Modes of Inclusion/Exclusion of Strangers and the Poor in Europe since Late Antiquity, ed. by Lutz Raphael and Herbert Uerling. Frankfurt a.M. [et al.] 2008, 487-520.
  • Microstorie transnazionali. Il campo delle associazioni italiane a Seraing, in: L'Emilia nel cuore dell'Europa. Emigrazione in Belgio. Storia e memorie di molte partenze e di qualche ritorno, ed. v. Lorenzo Bertucelli. Milan 2012, 253-265.
  • Political Participation of Italian Migrant Workers - On the Reconstruction of a Transnational Political Field, in Nation Building and Democracy. European Developments of Social Participation, ed. by Norbert Franz and Jean-Paul Lehners. Munich 2013, 194-223.
  • The measure of all things? Family Models of Italian Migrant Workers in Conflict with the Bourgeois Family Ideal, in Bilder-Buch-Familien. Repräsentationskritische Analysen zu armen und fremden Familien der Neuzeit, ed. by Arbeitskreis Visuelle und sprachliche Repräsentationen von Fremdheit und Armut. Frankfurt a.M. [et al.] 2013, 307-330.


Working Papers

  • "Permanent Tentativeness" as a Lifestyle, Or How to Explain Transnational Social Spaces as a Result of Labor Migration in Postwar Europe. Social Science History Association, 37th Annual Meeting: Histories of Capitalism. Vancouver, November 1-4, 2012.
  • Teaching How to Use a New Communication Device. Telephone Instructions in User Manuals and Etiquette Books in the United States, 1880s to 1980s. German Historical Institute Washington DC: New Technologies and Cultures of Communication in the 19th and 20th Centuries. Washington DC, May 10-11, 2013.
  • Imagining the Telephone (USA, 1880s-1950s). A Global Community of Communication in the Making? Cité des Télécoms 3rd Doctoral Summer School: Between International, Transnational and Global History. Information Technologies at Borders, 19th-21st c. Pleumeur-Bodou, September 23-25, 2013.




Lectures (in selection)

  • National Identity in the Italian Press in Belgium, Luxembourg and Lorraine, Migration Event Series, Centre Marc Bloch, November 22, 2002.
  • Transnational Social and Cultural Practices of Italian Labor Migrants in the Belgian Mining Community of Seraing (1946-1990), PhD Seminar Politics, Science and Society of the Federal Republic between National Continuities and International Trends, Haus auf der Alb, Bad Urach, January 30-February 1, 2003.
  • Italian Migration to Seraing (Liège) and the concept of a transnational social space, Migrations intérieures, migrations extérieures. Institutions, parenté et itinéraires individuels, 1800-1960, ENS and INED, Paris, April 4, 2003.
  • The post-WWII Italian community in Seraing/Liège: a transnational social space, Paths of integration, Institute for Migration Research and Intercultural Studies, University of Osnabrück, June 20-21, 2003.
  • L'intégration de l'histoire de l'immigration italienne dans l'histoire locale de Liège à l'exemple de deux cérémonies commemoratives, Journée de l'histoire contemporaine 2006, Liège, March 18, 2006.
  • Les archives de l'administration publique comme source pour la reconstitution des strategies de migration (Belgique 1945-2000), Journée d'étude La machine migratoire. Filières formelles et informelles de l'immigration en France et en Europe pendant les Trente Glorieuses, Université Paris Diderot/ Paris VII, March 15, 2011.
  • Using the Telephone and Imagining its Consequences: Between Local Calls and a Global Community of Communication, Davidson College, September 17, 2013.
  • Distant Proximity: Overcoming Distance in the Telephone Conversation? Medialisierung mündlicher Kommunikation im 20. Jahrhundert, Colloquium of the Chair of Cultural and Media History ( Prof. Dr. Clemens Zimmermann), Saarland University, July 4, 2014.
  • Modernity Calling: Das Telefon und die zwischenmenschliche Kommunikation in Deutschland und den USA 1880-1990, Oberseminar zur Neueren und Neuesten Geschichte,( Hubertus Büschel, Dirk van Laak, Friedrich Lenger und UlrikeWeckel) Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen, 11.02.2015.
  • Das Telefon als Objekt in Privathaushalten oder Virtualisierung von und Gemeinschaftsbildung durch den Telefonapparat, Master-/Doktoratskolloquium Technikgeschichte, ETH Zürich (Prof. Dr. David Gugerli), 20.10.2015.
  • Visualizations of Migrants on the Phone or Reasons for the Lack Thereof. Paper presented at the conference Migrants and Media, University of Kassel, 13.12.2019.
  • Temporary Migration and Transnational Lifestyles. Italians in a Walloon Mining Community after 1945. Historical Seminar, WWU Münster, Colloquium Recent History: Migration and Mobility, 08.01.2020.