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LeiAnna Xenia Hamel

picture of LeiAnna

This scholarship is open to all graduate students in Jewish Studies and Holocaust, Genocide, Memory Studies who plan to conduct research abroad or study language abroad. Preference will be given to students who have not yet received a full award from JS/HGMS. The award offers three thousand dollars in support.


My dissertation project, entitled “Undisciplined Bodies: Deviant Female Sexuality in Russian and Yiddish Literatures, 1870s-1930,” analyzes the depiction of female bodies and eroticism in Russian and Yiddish literatures alongside medical, anthropological, and journalistic examinations of female sexuality. I employ a Foucauldian framework to analyze how the discourses surrounding the erotic female body sought to know and thus control its subject, with the literary text and the scientific tract serving very different functions within these discourses. I argue that artistic literature served as a space of increasingly unregulated pleasure for the reader, while the non-fictional texts tried to exercise discipline and control over the reader’s carnal thoughts and behavior. Furthermore, I show how the Russian and Yiddish print cultures interacted with one another in the late imperial and early Soviet periods. With its strongly historical, theoretical, and comparative approach, my dissertation offers new insights into the constructions of female sexuality in Russian and Yiddish literary and non-fictional texts from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. ~ LeiAnna