The Jewish Studies Graduate Student Network is an informal  group of graduate students interested in the interdisciplinary field of Jewish Studies. Run out of the Carolina Center for Jewish Studies and mentored by faculty advisers, the group brings together graduate students from a wide variety  of fields on campus who maintain interests in Jewish Studies. The group meets on a regular basis throughout the year for works-in-progress sessions, luncheon seminars with guest speakers, and other events where graduate students have the chance to interact with students and faculty involved with the field of Jewish Studies. The only requirements for  participating are an interest in Jewish Studies and current enrollment as a graduate student at Carolina. To get on the mailing list for forthcoming events or to learn more, email the Carolina Center for Jewish Studies, at jewishstudies@unc.edu.

Graduate Students

t.alexander.web_ Travis Alexander is a doctoral fellow in UNC’s Department of English and Comparative Literature. He received a B.A. in Plan II Honors and English at The University of Texas at Austin in 2013. His current research considers the leveraging of Jewish identity in postmodern American novels—particularly those of non-Jewish writers like Thomas Pynchon. Also within the scope of Jewish Studies, Travis is interested in the rise of midcentury-modern domestic architecture in Los Angeles in the 1940s and 50s, and its association with the photography of Julius Shulman. More broadly, Travis’ research considers biopolitics, prosthetic memory, and aesthetics of the neoliberal state.


 Blanchard.vsm_ Joshua Blanchard is a graduate student in the philosophy program at UNC (Chapel Hill). He has an MA in philosophy from Brandeis University, and a BA in philosophy and near eastern studies from the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor). Joshua’s main areas of interest are in epistemology, ethics, and the philosophy of religion. He has a particularly strong interest in Abraham Joshua Heschel’s contributions to 20th century moral and religious thought, and how Heschel applied his dual roots in Hasidism and European phenomenology to contemporary problems.


 Buller Robin Buller is a graduate student in the History department. She graduated from the University of Toronto in 2014 with a B. A. in History and Classical Civilization. Robin’s research looks at the role of language and multilingualism in the Holocaust. She is particularly interested in the experience of Greek Jews in Nazi concentration camps.


 coussens-744x1024 Brian Coussens is a Graduate Student in the Department of Religious Studies.  Brian received a BA in Anthropology & History from Georgia Southern University in 2006 and a MA in New Testament Archaeology from Wheaton College in 2008. His research focuses on the archaeology and history of early Judaism and Christianity.  He is currently a staff member at UNC’s Huqoq Excavation Project in Israel, where he has been assisting with the excavation of the abandoned modern village of Yaquq.  His recent research projects examine Second Temple Judaism by understanding Jewish material culture as a means of self-representation and self-identity and as a means of cultural negotiation in an ever-changing socio-political climate. His other interests include theories on the creation, sustainability, and transformation of place and the manner in which material culture influences these processes.


 doughtery

 

 

 

 

Matthew Dougherty is a third-year doctoral student in the Department of Religious Studies in the Religion in the Americas track. He graduated from Amherst College with a B.A. in Religion and English, and from Harvard Divinity School with a Master of Theological Studies (MTS). His dissertation focuses on the “Jewish Indian theory”– the idea that some or all Native Americans are the descendants of Ancient Israelites– in the United States during the early Nineteenth century. It argues that American Protestant readings of Judaism and the Hebrew Scriptures shaped changing concepts of Natives and whiteness. His broader interests include missions and Native American religion in North America from the colonial period to the mid-nineteenth century.


Luke Drake is a doctoral student of Ancient Mediterranean Religions in the Religious Studies Department. His research interests include Jewish-Christian relations in antiquity and the ancient transmission and interpretation of Jewish and Christian literature. He has worked with the Center for the Preservation of Ancient Religious Texts on the Vatican Syriac Manuscript Project (http://cpart.mi.byu.edu/home/vs/aboutvs/), and he is the editor of The Emergence of Christianity (Mohr Seibeck, 2013), a collection of the papers of the Swiss biblical scholar, François Bovon.


huqoq2015.fundedstudents.erickson Bradley Erickson is a graduate student in Religious Studies, concentrating in the field of ancient Mediterranean Religions. He graduated from Centre College in 2009 with a double major in History and Religious Studies.  In 2012, he received a Master of Divinity from Duke Divinity School.  For the past three summers, Bradley has dug with Dr. Jodi Magness at the Huqoq Excavation Project in the Galilee of Israel.  His research interests include Second Temple Judaism, early Christianity, and studying the relationship between material culture and religious text.


Rachel-Gelfand-764x1024 Rachel Gelfand received a BA in American Studies from Smith College. Before returning to American Studies, she produced radio pieces, deejayed radio shows, and worked on projects of public memory and oral history. In memory studies, she is pursuing a project concerning a set of Holocaust drawings and intergenerational familial memory. She is originally from the greater Boston area.


 leagreenberg.2015web Lea Greenberg is a first-year Ph.D. student in the Carolina-Duke Graduate Program in German Studies. She earned her B.A. in German Studies with a Concentration in Russian, Central, and East European Studies at Grinnell College in 2014. Following graduation, she worked as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant at the Georg-Büchner-Gymnasium in Berlin. During her time as a Fulbrighter, she also volunteered at the American Jewish Committee Berlin office. In her graduate studies, Lea’s research interests are focused on issues of anti-Judaism and anti-Semitism. She is also interested on discourses and constructions of identity in the Jewish community, particularly in the lands of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.


tessagurney Tessa Gurney is a doctoral student in the Romance Languages department. She specializes in Early Modern Italian theater, and is writing a dissertation on the figure of the Jewish Other in late cinquecento and early seicento comedy. The first chapter of her project, a study on the Jewish and Muslim presence in the work of capocomico Giovan Battista Andreini, is to be included in the volume The Medici and the Levant: Interlacing Cultures from Florence to the Eastern Mediterranean (1532-1743), forthcoming in 2014. She is currently the Samuel Kress fellow at the Medici Archive Project, a digital humanities initiative based at the State Archive in Florence, Italy.


 MeghanHarter.web14 Meghan Harter is a doctoral student in Education, Cultural Studies and Literacies. She is a recipient of the Native American Initiative Fellowship (2013-2014) and the Samuel M. Holton Graduate Fellowship in Foundations of Education (2014-Present). She received a M.A.T. in Special Education, Mild to Moderate Disorders, and completed a graduate certificate in Academically or Intellectually Gifted (AIG) Education from Western Carolina University. She also has a B.A. in Psychology from Maryville College in Maryville, Tennessee. She taught for three years as an English Language Arts/Special Education teacher for North Carolina public schools before returning to graduate school. Meghan is currently researching diaspora studies in relation to identity formation within Jewish and Native American populations and culturally relevant pedagogy within project-based learning.


 huckestein-1024x768 Erika Huckestein is a doctoral student in the Department of History at UNC.  She received her BA in History from Carleton College in 2010 and her MA in History from UNC in 2013. Her dissertation focuses on the intersections between British women’s activism, anti-fascism, pacifism and international politics in the period between the two world wars. For three years, she was the Graduate Assistant for the Center.


scottkrause.web2015 Scott Krause, in the Department of History, examines Berlin’s transformation from the capital of Nazi Germany to a symbol of freedom and resilient democracy in the Cold War. The doctoral candidate’s research has unearthed how this remarkable development derived from a network of liberal American occupation officials, and returned émigrés, or remigrés, of the formerly Marxist Social Democratic Party (SPD). In the summer of 2015, the Center’s funding has allowed Scott to research motivations for return in Dutch and German archives.


 kushkova-1024x763 Anna Kushkova is a PhD student at the Department on Anthropology. The tentative title of her dissertation is “Jewish ethnic economy during the late socialism in the USSR”. She has been engaged in the field study of the Jewish population in her native city of St. Petersburg, as well as in Western Ukraine and Moldova. She had received her BA in foreign languages at A.I. Herzen State Pedagogical University in St. Petersburg, an MA in English Literature at the University of Northern Iowa, and an equivalent of PhD in Ethnology at the European University at St. Petersburg. She is the Silver Fellow for 2013-2014 and she is currently doing her dissertation field research in St. Petersburg, Moscow, Ukraine and Moldova.


 maxlazar.vsm_ Max Lazar is a first year MA student in the history department. In his graduate work, Max hopes to investigate the mass immigration of Soviet Jews to divided and reunified Germany during the 1980s and 1990s. Before arriving at UNC, he spent a year as a Fulbright Teaching Assistant in Vienna, Austria and was the Richard Sonnenfeldt Fellow at the American Jewish Committee’s office in Berlin. A proud native of New Jersey, Max graduated with a B.A. in history from the College of William & Mary.


 parshall-smaller Josh Parshall is a doctoral student in the Department of American Studies. He is interested in American Jewish identity, with an emphasis on the American south.  His current research focuses on the activities of the Southern District of the Workmen’s Circle during the first half of the twentieth century.  Previously, Josh worked as an oral historian in Jewish communities throughout the region. He holds a BA in American studies from the University of Kansas and an MA in folklore from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


 Tine Tine Rassalle is a graduate student in the Department of Religious Studies, Ancient Mediterranean Religions track. She received her BA and MA in Archaeology of the Ancient Near East at the University of Gent, Belgium and a second BA in Hebrew and Aramaic languages and cultures at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands. She is interested in archaeology, ancient Judaism and Christianity, ancient inscriptions and religions in the Middle East in general. She has conducted over 15 excavations and has been a staff member on multiple digs in Israel. Since last summer she is also involved in the excavation project in Huqoq, directed by Professor Jodi Magness.


 schindler Daniel Schindler is a graduate student in the Department of Classics where he studies the archaeology of  Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine Palestine, specializing in ceramics. He received his B.A. in classical and near eastern archaeology, Latin and Greek from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities and M.A. in classical archaeology from UNC – Chapel Hill. He has worked at two sites in Israel: Tel Kedesh directed by Andrea Berlin and Sharon Herbert, and most recently the Huqoq excavation project under the direction of Jodi Magness and David Amit as the site ceramicist. For his dissertation he will be creating a typology and chronology of the local Galilean plain wares of the 4th through 6th centuries CE.


guy.shalev1.web_ Guy Shalev is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Anthropology. He received his B.A. in Psychology and Sociology, and his M.A. in Anthropology from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His research focuses on politics of expertise and border making in Israel/Palestine. Guy’s dissertation research looks into the experiences of Palestinian physicians in the Israeli health system. He is particularly interested in the practice and assertion of medical neutrality, examining how it conceals political conflict and difference but also how it serves as a ground for social mobility and political action for Palestinian physicians in Israel. He is the 2014-2015 Silver Fellow.


 Joshua-Shelly.gradstudent.2016 Joshua Shelly began his studies at Wayne State University in Detroit, where he received his BA in German and History in 2011. During his time at Wayne State, he spent the 2009-2010 academic year in Munich. Following his BA, Joshua completed a Master in Library Science (2013) and then a MA in Religious Studies (2015) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. While at Illinois, his interest in German-Jewish studies developed, culminating in work on a 1920’s-era German-language translation of the Hebrew Bible by Martin Buber and Franz Rosenzweig. Joshua spent this past academic year (2015-2016) in Bonn, Germany where he worked as an English-language teaching assistant in a vocational school as a Fulbright recipient. Joshua’s research interests include: post 1945 Jewish life in German-speaking countries; multilingualism; German-Israeli relations; and memory studies.


 somogvi Allison Somogyi is a doctoral student in the History department. She received a B.A. in History at Grinnell College in 2009 and an M.A. in History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her dissertation chronicles the history of everyday life of the Jewish community in Budapest under Nazi occupation, with a focus on widespread, small-scale resistance efforts.


Alejandro Hermes Moreiras Vilaros is in the Religion and Culture track within the Religious Studies department. His concentration in Jewish Studies revolves around the overlapping ideas of Spain and Jews, and the dialectics between the two. At the moment he is working primarily on two ideas. The first has to do with the Jewish legacy, or ghost, in Spain, but also elsewhere, known as marranismo. The second idea relates to how, pragmatically and theoretically, Franco and his fascist movimiento understood Jews. He has an M.A. from Hebrew University and a B.A. from Hampshire College with a 5 College Certificate in Middle Eastern Studies.


 daniella.weiner.2015web Daniela Weiner is a graduate student in the Department of History. She graduated from Vassar College in 2012 with a B. A. in History and Italian. She received an M.S in Educational Studies in 2014 from Johns Hopkins University. Daniela’s research looks at the post-World War II period in Western Europe, with a particular focus on Germany and Italy. She considers issues of Holocaust memory and how those issues came to interact with educational policies and an emerging human rights agenda.


Recent Graduates
annegret.vsm_ Annegret Oehme was a graduate student in the Carolina-Duke Graduate Program in German Studies. She received her B.A. in Jewish Studies and her M.A. in Medieval and Early Modern German Literature and Language from Freie Universität in Berlin. Her research interests include medieval and early modern German and Yiddish literature. For her dissertation project she researched the various adaptations and transformations of the story of the Arthurian knight Wigalois, across different languages (Yiddish and German) and different media (manuscripts, prints, wall paintings, comics) from the 13th to the 21st centuries. In fall 2016, she joined the faculty at the University of Washington in Seattle.


samkessler.2015-768x1024 Samuel J. Kessler received his BA from New York University and MA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In May 2016, he earned his Ph.D. from UNC in the Department of Religious Studies. His dissertation, entitled “A New Shoot From the House of David: Adolf Jellinek and the Creation of the Modern Rabbinate,” traces the history and development of the role of the rabbi and the rabbi’s sermon in the modernization of Judaism during the nineteenth century. In fall 2016 he joined Virginia Tech as a visiting professor.


 Woelk.vsm_ Emma Woelk was the first student to complete the Carolina-Duke Joint Program in German Studies. She graduated in May 2015, and also completed the Graduate Student Certificate in Jewish Studies. She has a B.A. in German studies and microbiology from Vassar College. Her research interests include 20th century German literature, Yiddish, and theater. Emma is a faculty member at a university in Texas.


duncan.topkapi.vsm_ Carrie Duncan was a graduate student in the Department of Religious Studies, studying the archaeology of early Judaism and Christianity. For three years, she served as the Graduate Assistant for the Center. She received her  B.A. in archaeology from Tufts University and M.A. in Near Eastern Languages  and Civilizations from Harvard University. Carrie’s dissertation focused on the archaeological evidence for  the position of women in the synagogues and churches of late antiquity. Carrie is on the faculty of a state university in Missouri.


StevenWerlin Steve Werlin was a graduate student in the Department of Religious Studies where he studied the archaeology of Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine  Palestine, as well as ancient Judaism. His research interests included Ancient  Synagogue Art and Architecture, Hasmonean and Herodian Architecture and History, and Jewish Religious Practices in the Classical and Near Eastern world.


 tobin.crop_.vs_ Patrick Tobin enrolled in the Ph.D. History program in the fall 2007, where he studied the Holocaust and Holocaust memory in Germany. His dissertation project examined West German trials for crimes of the Holocaust, with a focus on how these trials informed Germans’ understandings of their own past. For two years, he served as the Graduate Assistant for the Center. Patrick works as an adjunct professor and research and policy consultant on the east coast.


 graber.crop_.vs_ Naomi Graber’s dissertation subject was Kurt Weill, who went from collaborating with avante-garde playwrights such as Bertolt Brecht in Germany to writing Broadway musicals. She explored how Weill drew on his experiences as a German-Jew to provide new perspectives on race relations, the New Deal, and American history to his new audience. Naomi is on the faculty of a state university in Georgia.