In Winter 2009, the town of Coccaglio, Italy implemented a “White Christmas” campaign designed to rid the town of African workers; further south, in the Calabria region, migrant workers were driven from several small towns at gun point. Brittany Rodgers, a history major in the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences and Honors College student, is exploring why Italy is experiencing these racial tensions when traditionally it has enjoyed a lively exchange of goods – and people – with the African continent. She recently returned from five months in Italy, where she studied modern Italian politics and collected people’s stories.
“There’s a lot of tension there,” she said, adding that for her honors thesis, “I need to provide historical context, from post-World War II forward.” Rodgers emphasized that the trip to Italy, her first time abroad, was invaluable to her research: “Going to Italy helped me understand things from a different perspective. In history, you have to be able to distance yourself a bit.”
Rodgers discussed her trip, her work with faculty mentor Andrea Arrington, and why history matters in an interview with Kyle Kellams, news director for KUAF 91.3. The interview, one of a series on student/faculty research collaborations in the Honors College, aired on “Ozarks at Large” on Wednesday, March 16.