The Stroum Center for Jewish Studies is excited to introduce the 2021-2022 cohort of graduate fellows in Jewish studies. Fellows receive mentorship from Stroum Center faculty, attend bi-monthly workshops on public scholarship and Jewish Studies, and share their research with the community through public presentations and articles published on the Stroum Center website. Funding for the annual fellowship program is generously provided by community supporters.
Learn more about this year’s cohort of graduate fellows in Jewish Studies:
Francis Abugbilla, Ina & Richard Willner Memorial Fellow
Francis Mbawini Abugbilla is a Ph.D. candidate in international studies in the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington. He is currently a Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation 2021 Emerging Scholar. His research interests include international cooperation, foreign policy, diplomacy, and international conflict management. He is particularly interested in grassroots participation in conflict resolution, management, and peacebuilding in Africa and other regions. He has researched the development of diplomatic ties between African countries and Israel, as well as the contributions of local Jewish communities to peacebuilding efforts in Côte d’Ivoire.
Lili Brown, Max Sarason Fellow
Lili Brown is pursuing her masters’ of Library and Information Science at the University of Washington’s iSchool, where she is specifically studying community-focused archives. She hopes to utilize her training to better organize, curate, and source public history materials in a variety of archival spaces and historical repositories. Before coming to the UW, Lili earned two Bachelor of Arts degrees from Barnard College and the Jewish Theological Seminary, in history and modern Jewish studies. After graduating, Lili worked at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research as an assistant accessioning archivist, where she processed new donations to YIVO’s collections. Lili is looking forward to working with the Sephardic Studies Program to help build the Sephardic Studies Digital Archive within UW Special Collections, drawing on both her knowledge of archival best practices and her experiences working with users in a Jewish history repository.
Aaron Carpenter, Robert and Pamela Center Fellow
Aaron Carpenter is a Ph.D. student in the Department of English at the University of Washington. His main areas of academic interest are minority literature in Austria and Germany, as well as literature from German minority groups in non-German-speaking regions, such as South Tyrol in Italy. His dissertation examines how writers from the former Yugoslavia and Austria use foreign words to name and discuss traumatic experiences. While his area of focus is on authors primarily from the former Yugoslavia, the theoretical basis for this work is grounded in the writing of German Jewish thinkers such as Theodor Adorno and Walter Benjamin. Aaron has an article on Franz Kafka forthcoming in the JCLA Journal entitled “Tied to German, Unable to Find a Foothold in Yiddish.” Before coming to the University of Washington, Aaron taught English in Qingdao, China, and Innsbruck, Austria, as well as working as a technical writer with Hewlett-Packard.
Shelby Handler, Robinovitch Family Fellow
Shelby Handler is an M.F.A. candidate in poetry at the University of Washington Seattle, where they also graduated with honors as an undergraduate. They are at work on their first poetry collection, which “queers” accepted notions of ancestry and home through explorations of Jewish femme identity at the margins. In both form and content, these poems examine empty spaces and holes, asking what it means to belong to a mother, a family, a people, a land. The collection engages with the activist lineage of the Jewish Labour Bund, a socialist political party in the 19th and 20th centuries, and its concept of “doikayt” (“hereness” in Yiddish, referring to the strengthening of Jewish communities at a local level). Alongside this collection, Shelby is also working on a critical thesis project that grapples with the relationships between translation, embodiment, ancestry, sonic play and poetics.
Forrest Martin, Mickey and Leo Sreebny Memorial Fellow
Forrest Martin is a second-year M.A. student and teaching assistant in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilization. He received his B.A. summa cum laude in Hebrew Bible and Ancient Near Eastern studies with a second major in Greek from the University of Washington. His academic interests include a variety of ancient Near Eastern and Mediterranean languages and literatures, particularly as they relate to ancient religion and conceptions of cosmology. As a Stroum Center fellow, Forrest will research utopian and dystopian texts’ use of dramatic and unusual reversals, especially those found in the Hebrew Bible.