The Feinstein Center for American Jewish History announces the selection of its Summer Fellows for 2017:
Ronnie Grinberg is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History & the Schusterman Center for Judaic & Israel Studies at the University of Oklahoma. Her book project, tentatively titled ‘My Pen is My Weapon: The New York Intellectuals and Masculinity, 1930-1980’ examines how gender, ethnicity, and religion intersected to shape the New York intellectuals, a prominent group of mostly male and Jewish writers and critics at midcentury. Ronnie argues that these intellectuals embodied a new construction of Jewishness in the United States, what she terms an ideology of secular American Jewish masculinity, that in turn profoundly shaped how they understood and interpreted the world. This ideology of secular Jewish masculinity became a defining feature of American intellectual life in the second half of the twentieth century.
Sara Halpern, a PhD Candidate at The Ohio State University was selected for her project, “The World of 1939 Stood Still For Us: European Jewish Emigration from Shanghai, 1946-1951,” which examines the transnational conversations among American, Canadian, and Australian Jewish organizations concerning the emigration of 15,000 Central European Jewish refugees from Shanghai between 1945 and 1951. It grapples with post-Holocaust and Nazism, issues of Jewish ethnicity and “ex-enemy” citizenship within frameworks of United Nations’ aid policies and various immigration laws. By exploring the process, her dissertation sheds light on long-term consequences of failed international efforts to rescue German and Austrian Jewry from state-sponsored racial persecution including the Evian Conference of 1938. Simultaneously, and more relevant to the present, it showcases tensions among refugees, humanitarian organizations and the Western powers over repatriation when it becomes the last available option.
Geoffrey Levin is a PhD Candidate at New York University. His dissertation, “Another Nation: Israel, American Jews, and Palestinian Rights, 1949-1977,” traces the emergence of Palestinian rights as an issue in American Jewish politics. Starting with the little-known tale of an American Jewish volunteer who aided Palestinian war refugees and ending with the public controversy over the pro-peace group Breira, the dissertation connects the changing ways in which American Jews reacted to Palestinian rights with broader shifts in American society, Israeli policy, and global politics. By interweaving the stories of activists and officials with macrohistorical trends, the project explains how and why Palestinian rights arose as a prominent and divisive question in Jewish political discourse.
Mathias Fuelling is a PhD Candidate at Temple University researching the ways in which the Holocaust has been memorialized in the former Soviet bloc and Soviet Union nations since the end of the Cold War, focusing on the usage of “stollpersteine” or “tripping stones” in Central and Eastern Europe, particularly in the city of Prague. Stollpersteine are bronze plaques set into the street or sidewalk in front of houses and buildings where Holocaust victims lived before their arrest and deportation to the camps. Related to this, Mathias is also interested in the ways in which the Holocaust was memorialized in the Soviet bloc and the Soviet Union during the Cold War. His project examines the relationship between the nations in which the Holocaust occurred and the ways in which the Holocaust is memorialized in the United States.