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Spotlight List

  • Meagan Smith completed her PhD in Comparative and World Literature in 2022. Her dissertation, titled Science Fiction at the Border, examines representations of walled spaces in 20th and 21st century utopian and dystopian science fiction from Russia, Cuba, Mexico, the US and Canada. Her research draws these otherworldly fictional spaces together with investigations into the material...
  • Claire Baytas graduated with a PhD in Comparative Literature, a Graduate Student Certificate from the Program in Holocaust, Genocide and Memory Studies, and a Graduate Minor in Cinema Studies in May 2023. While a PhD student, Claire’s research focused on representations of memory and history in contemporary literature and cinema in French and Turkish, with a focus on representations of the...
  • Diana Sacilowski earned her Ph.D. in Slavic Languages & Literatures, along with graduate certificates in Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies and Criticism and Interpretive Theory, at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in 2021. She is now a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures at the Ohio State University, where she...
  • Leah Wilks is a dancer, choreographer, and teacher currently based out of Brooklyn, NY (Munsee Lenape and Canarsie land) and originally from Durham, NC (Eno, Lumbee, Shakori, Sissapahaw, and the Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation land). At times, she is also a gardener, an elder-care companion, a musician, and a writer. Her research revolves around embodied memory, death and dying practices,...
  • Ofira earned her PhD in sociocultural anthropology with a graduate certificate in Jewish Culture and Society at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Her dissertation, titled, “Scaling Down Judaism: The Politics of Tradition and Change among Liberal Observant Jews in Israel,” traces the shifting locus of religious authority in religious-Zionist communities - from formal institutions and...
  • Helen Makhdoumian is a Promise Armenian Institute Postdoctoral Scholar at the University of California, Los Angeles, where, under the mentorship of Professor Michael Rothberg of the Department of Comparative Literature, she is working on her book manuscript tentatively titled “A Map of This Place: Nested Memory and the Afterlives of Removal.” This project stems from her dissertation, which was...
  • Ellie Spitz graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with Highest Honors in Human Development and Family Studies and dual minors in Sociology and Jewish Culture and Society in 2011. They then graduated from Washington University in St Louis as a Master of Social Work, where they worked for LGBT* Student Involvement and Leadership. Ellie was a recipient of the 2010 Ronald Filler...
  • Joshua Kravitz received his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science with a undergraduate minor in Jewish Culture and Society here at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He has always been interested in Jewish studies, especially after completing a semester abroad in 2019 at Tel Aviv University. Joshua has been a great leader and has vocalized his support to Israel by being a part of...
  • Ethan Madarieta received his Ph.D. in Comparative Literature with a graduate minor in Latina/Latino Studies and certificate in Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies. His dissertation, “The Practice of Memory: Decolonial Resistance in Indigenous Chile and the Chilean Diaspora,” is a study of contemporary trans-American memory and memorial performance as generating space for knowing and...
  • HGMS is delighted to announce that Comparative Literature and HGMS graduate student Alexandra van Doren defended her dissertation on April 30 and was hooded as an Illini Ph.D. on 11 May 2019. Her dissertation, which she will deposit in August, ‘“Where foot knocks against/the unburied bones of kin’: Topographies of Memory and Amnesia in Poland and Spain,” compares the memory cultures of Spain and...