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 Poland around the Holocaust, Spanish Civil War, and other traumatic events through the lens of repressed and silenced voices. Alex has been an exceptional student and community leader. She was awarded the Graduate Student Leadership award for her pioneering work co-founding the immigrant and refugee aid group, Three Spinners. She was the recipient of the Gendell Family and Shiner Family Fellowship, two FLAS fellowships, and the YMCA Fred S. Bailey Fellowship for Community Leadership. Alex plans to begin law school at the University of Michigan in the fall where she will be trained in immigration and human rights law.
Here is how Alex describes the importance of HGMS for her:
“The Initiative in Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies was instrumental in my decision to attend the University of Illinois to pursue a PhD in Comparative Literature. The exceptional courses taught by HGMS faculty; diverse and interdisciplinary nature of seminars, conferences, and presentations; and opportunities for engagement with leading scholars in the field greatly enhanced my experience as a doctoral student. My training prepared me not only for producing innovative Holocaust research, but also for approaching related issues with informed sensitivity, which has served me well in my non-profit work with immigrants and refugees. I am grateful to Professor Kaplan and all other HGMS faculty and students for their thoughtful and pioneering work and for the opportunity to be part of this progressive Initiative.”