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Current Jewish Studies Graduate Students

Doctoral Minor Students

Mollie Ables (Musicology) travelled to Venice in summer 2014 to conduct archival research for her dissertation which examines sacred musical institutions in Venice between 1670 and 1700 and focuses on the career of Giovanni Legrenzi. Her interests also include early 20th century Jewish ethnography. She is an editorial assistant at IU Press.

Charles Bonds is a Ph.D. candidate in the History department. His research focuses on Yiddish writers in the postwar Soviet Union. A native of Albuquerque, New Mexico, Charles came to Soviet and Jewish history through his passion for literature and cultural history under empire. He's currently conducting research in Kyiv, Ukraine on a Fulbright grant and will return to Bloomington in the summer of 2016 to complete his dissertation. His main research interests include Stalinism, self-fashioning among subaltern cultural figures, and the history of Jewish dissidence and assimilation and the paradoxes these phenomena entail.

Ramajana Hidic Demirovic’s (History) dissertation, “Performing Tradition in Modern Times: Laura Papo Bohoreta’s Search for Sephardic Woman’s Identity in Interwar Bosnia” is a biography of a well-known Sephardic writer. Ramajana has been awarded several grants for her research and teaching, including the Congressman Frank McCloskey, IREX, ACTR, Mellon, and IU Future Faculty Teaching Fellowships. Her translation of several of Bohoreta’s articles was published in a collection of primary sources entitled Sephardic Reader,edited by Sarah Stein and Julia Cohen, and published by Stanford University Press.

Roy Holler is a third year Ph.D. candidate in Comparative Literature, with a minor in Jewish Studies. Originally from Tel Aviv, Roy worked as a reporter for the IDF radio before moving to New York City where he continued to write a weekly personal column for Yediot Ahronot. Roy is interested in representations of trauma and revenge in Israeli and African-American literature, focusing on post-Holocaust and post-Slavery fiction.

Mitsuko Kawabata’s (Ethnomusicology) research interest is Jewish youth culture in Argentina. Following dissertation fieldwork in Buenos Aires in 2012 and 2013, she is currently working on her dissertation on this topic.

Last year, Constanze Kolbe (History) travelled to Corfu, Athens, Tirana, Trieste, Venice, and Rome for dissertation research, which focuses on the economic and cultural connections between the Corfiote Jews and other Jewish communities inside the Ionian Mediterranean during the nineteenth century. Her study combines the historiography of both Jewish and world history. Her work was generously supported by the Borns JSP and the History Department. This year, she is a recipient of the prestigious Onassis Foreigners Fellowship from the Onassis Foundation in Greece which will enable her to finish her research and begin writing her dissertation. In 2013, she also received a one month scholarship-in-residence in the Ecole Francaise in Athens where she presented preliminary research findings in September 2013. In May 2014, she was invited to present her research in an international conference on the Jews of Southeastern Europe organized by the University of Trieste and the Rothschild Foundation Europe.

Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Comparative Literature, Avi Lang has just completed a teaching fellowship at Nanterre Université in Paris. Last year, he was awarded a translation fellowship from the National Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Massachusetts. He spent his year abroad teaching courses in language, translation, and history and translating from Yiddish into English a collection of short stories by Avrom Rivess about life in British Mandate Palestine. Avi returned to Bloomington this fall to sit his qualifying exams.

Yehuda Magid (Political Science) is studying international relations and comparative politics, with a minor in Jewish Studies. Yehuda served as a combat soldier in the Special Forces Battalion of the Nehal Brigade of the Israeli Defense Forces before completing his master's degree in the Diplomacy and Conflict Studies Program at the Inter-Disciplinary Center in Herzliya, Israel in 2010. Yehuda's primary professional interests include intra-state conflict, non-state political violence, the micro-dynamics of conflict, ethnic conflict, nationalism, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Allison Posner (Comparative Literature) spent the 2012-2013 year at the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, MA, where she worked on the development of a Yiddish textbook and on several translation projects. She returned to IU as a Ph.D. student in Fall 2013 where she continues her research on Holocaust narratives, including works by Elie Wiesel, Georges Perec, and W.G Sebald. She taught first year Yiddish during the 2013-2014 year. She spent the summer of 2014studying at the Hebrew Language School at Middlebury College.
During the 2013-2014 year,

Lindsey Pullum (Communication and Culture) is focused on studying Mizrahim, Arab-Israeli relations, and the ethnography of media in Israel. After receiving her M.A. from the IU Near Eastern Languages and Cultures Department, she transitioned into the Ph.D. program to do more in-depth ethnographic research on media, circulation, and audience meaning-making on and about Mizrahim, Arab, and Jewish identity within Israel/Palestine. Other research interests include Arab-Jewish diaspora, Arabic and Hebrew presence/absence in media, intertextuality of film and music, Jewish film festivals, and hegemonic cultural productions. 

Anya Quilitszch (History) conducted research in Israel, Ukraine, and the U.S. for her dissertation entitled “’Returning Home?’ Transcarpathian Jewish Life Between 1945 and 1980”. In addition to collecting archival material, she also conducted over fifty interviews in Yiddish and Russian with Holocaust survivors and the first generation born after World War II. Anya presented her work at Yad Vashem, Haifa University, Trier University, and the AJS. With the generous support of the Alice Ginott Cohn, Ph.D. and Theodore Cohn Fellowship, Anya will begin to study the Ukrainian language in Fall 2014.

Julia Riegel (History) pursued pre-dissertation research in Warsaw, Poland, with the generous support of an Alice Ginott Cohn, Ph.D. and Theodore Cohn grant-in-aid. Riegel’s planned dissertation examines the role of music in Jewish communities in interwar Poland and during the Holocaust. Riegel presented papers at conferences at Arizona State University and IU. She served as President of the Jewish Studies Graduate Student Association. In summer 2014, Riegel was a Research Assistant at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

With the generous support of an Alice Ginott Cohn, Ph.D. and Theodore Cohn grant-in-aid, Meghan Riley (History) studied Yiddish at 2014 Summer Program in Yiddish Language and Literature at the Vilnius Yiddish Institute in Vilnius, Lithuania. Her doctoral research will center on the movement of Spanish Republican refugees into France and of European Jews from France into Spain during the 1930s and 1940s. For the 2014-15 school year she is serving as Professor Mark Roseman’s research assistant.

Devorah Shubowitz’s (Anthropology) project, funded by the Wenner Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, analyzes why and how four generations of women with a range of feminist identifications interpret and enact biblical, talmudic, and Jewish legal texts in different institutional settings and in their daily lives. Her project documents how these women take up their positions as readers of religious texts, explaining how and why legitimate interpretations are created and contested; how Jewish women shape their voices, embodiments, politics, relationships, and selves in dialogue with a canon that refuses and regulates women in determining God’s word and law.  Her project also analyzes the 1970s Jewish women’s feminist movement as related to religious knowledge and ritual, revealing the ethical problems that result from democratizing a male-dominant tradition

Sean Sidky is a second year M.A./Ph.D. student and Associate Instructor in the Department of Comparative Literature. His research looks at intersections of memory, identity, and the interpretation of traditional texts in Holocaust literature. His primary focus is Yiddish prose and poetry composed during or immediately after the Holocaust. He spent the summer of 2015 studying German with the generous support of a Friends of the Borns Jewish Studies Program Fellowship, and he is currently completing his M.A. project, a translation of Sholem Aleichem’s Yiddish stage play, Tevye the Dairyman.

Juliane Wuensch (Germanic Studies), a second year Ph.D. student, focuses her research on language pedagogy and the influence of identity and cultural aspects on individual learning experiences. For her minor in Jewish Studies, she focuses on modern Jewish history and the Yiddish language.

M.A. students

Emma Cudahy graduated from IU summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with majors in History and Anthropology in May, 2013. With support from a Glazer Family Fellowship, she completed her first year of studies toward the dual master’s degree in Jewish Studies and History with a special emphasis on the Holocaust in memory. In summer 2014, she received a grant-in-aid supported by the Alice Ginott Cohn, Ph.D. and Theodore Cohn Fellowship to study Yiddish at the Vilnius Yiddish Institute in Lithuania. This year, she is working as an assistant instructor for two Jewish Studies undergraduate courses.