The 2015-16 class of Jewish Studies Graduate Fellows will be the largest ever at the Stroum Center. The seven fellows come from diverse departments and programs across the University of Washington campus. Each will participate in a workshop series and contribute articles to You will be able to hear all the fellows present their research at the 2016 Spring Research Symposium (exact date to be announced).

We are thrilled to introduce you to this year’s fellowship class and their Jewish Studies research topics. Click here to find out more about graduate study at the Stroum Center. And as always, a big thank you to the community supporters who make these scholarships possible!

Canan Bolel ~ Richard M. Willner Memorial Scholar

Project: From Ottoman Millet to American Citizens: Production of Jewish Space in Seattle in the Late 19th and Early 20th Century 

Bio: Canan Bolel is a first-year PhD student in the Interdisciplinary Program in Near and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Washington. She was born in İzmir, Turkey in 1990 and attended Sabanci University. In 2011 she obtained a BA degree in Economics and in 2013, MA degree in Political Science. In 2013 she moved to the United Kingdom and started an MsC degree in Sociology at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Canan wrote her masters thesis on the politics of spouse selection and marital mobility among the Jewish residents of İzmir, as she focused on the impact of urban identity. Although she is still working on her dissertation topic, she is planing to focus on the concept of the ‘Jewish quarter’ and urban poverty in the Eastern Mediterranean port cities of the Ottoman Empire during the nineteenth century. She is interested in interactive mapping projects. As a Jewish Studies Graduate Fellow, Canan is planning to work on the Sephardic Jews’ settlement patterns in Seattle following their arrival from imperial cities of the Ottoman Empire during the late nineteenth century.

Rachel Graf ~ Philip Bernstein Memorial Scholar

Project: Experience and Authority: Israel/Palestine in the Works of Joe Sacco and Rutu Modan

Bio: Rachel Graf is a PhD candidate in English. She is writing a dissertation on comics, history and visual culture, and is more broadly interested in 20th century American narrative literature, film studies and postmodernism.

Read Rachel’s new blog post, “Do American Jews Have White Privilege?

Berkay Gulen ~ Samuel and Althea Stroum Fellow

Project: Turkey’s Foreign and Trade Policy towards Israel Since 2002

Bio: Berkay Gulen is an incoming PhD candidate in the Interdisciplinary Program in Near and Middle Eastern Studies. She received her first MSc. degree in International Relations from Middle East Technical University, Turkey in 2011. In 2012, she was awarded the Jean Monnet Scholarship and held her second MSc. degree in International Politics from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. Berkay’s academic interest in foreign policymaking in the Middle East led her to research at the Moshe Dayan Center of Tel Aviv University, Israel in 2013. Prior to enrolling at the University of Washington, she also worked as a volunteer coordinator at the Educational Volunteers Foundation of Turkey.

Oded Oron ~ Deborah and Doug Rosen Fellow

Project: Israeli Migrants, NGOs, and Jewish Sentiment in Contemporary Israeli Political Rhetoric

Bio: Oded Oron was born and raised in Tel Aviv, and his research focuses on the political mobilization of labor migrants and undocumented workers in Israel and the USA. Oded has a BA from Bar-Ilan University in Political Science and Communications and an MA in Politics and Government from Ben-Gurion University. Prior to his graduate studies at UW, Oded worked in the Israeli media for several years first as a Junior Editor for Ynet News and later as an Editor at Ha’aretz Newspaper; the Hebrew Translator and Editor of openGlobalRights on openDemocracy; and as a Professional Consultant for Israel’s Government Press Office. In the past Oded worked as a program coordinator and facilitator at UCLA’s Hillel and was one of the early organizers of an interfaith Muslim-Jewish dialogue group on campus. He is also an Alumnus of YALA, an online movement of Middle East and North African young leaders. Oded is a big fan of hiking and the outdoors and in recent years made several backpacking trips to South and Central America, India and Nepal.

Read Oded’s blog post, ““Native” author Sayed Kashua on Immigrant Identity.

Sasha Prevost ~ I. Mervin and Georgiana Gorasht Scholar

Project: The Persian Jewish Poet and Provocateur Sarmad Kashani as a Case Study for Boundaries of Religious Identity

Bio: Sasha Prevost is an incoming second-year student jointly in Comparative Religion and the MA/PhD program in Asian Languages and Literature. She is a returnee to UW, having earned her BA in History and Comparative Religion with Honors in 2009. She also holds a Masters of Divinity from Harvard, where she concentrated in religion and gender and interfaith work. Her current research focuses on questions of conversion, religious hybridity, and the boundaries of religious identity, particularly in South Asia and the Persianate world. She is also interested in underexplored areas of Jewish identity. For the Jewish Studies Graduate Fellowship, she is researching the 17th- century Persian poet Sarmad Kashani, the “Jewish saint of India” or “Jewish-Yogi-Sufi Courtier of the Mughals” and theorizing what pre-modern religious border-crossing can tell us about religious identity.

Read Sasha’s blog post, “Of Genizahs, Sufi Jewish Saints, and Forgotten Corners of History.”

Katja Schatte ~ Rabbi Arthur A. Jacobovitz Fellow

Project: Beyond the Congregation: Jewish Everyday Life in Cold War East Germany

Bio: Katja holds an MA in Latin American Studies from the University of Chicago and is currently a PhD candidate in the Department of History at the University of Washington, where she teaches modern European and Latin American history and studies the social and cultural histories of socialist societies. She was born and raised in Dresden, (East) Germany and has an academic and professional background in social work. Katja received the Rabbi Arthur A. Jacobovitz Fellowship to work on her dissertation, which will explore the social, cultural, and religious lives of East German Jews, inside and outside of the congregation, in the early Cold War period. This is her second year in the Jewish Studies Graduate Fellowship.

Read Katja’s new blog post, “Lessons in Solidarity at Seattle’s New Holocaust Center for Humanity.”

Emily Thompson ~ Mickey Sreebny Memorial Scholar

Project: Feasibility Study for a Jewish Community Archive

Bio: Emily Thompson is a student in the Information School’s Master of Library & Information Science program. She works with physical and digital archives as well as knowledge organization. For her second-year capstone project, she will work with Seattle’s Jewish community to plan and create a union catalogue of community resources. She is also translating Albert Levy’s 1934 Ladino novel Un episodio en la inquisicion into English. Emily holds a BA in English and Spanish as well as an MA in Hispanic Studies, also from the UW.

Read Emily’s blog post, “Finding Sephardic Blessings and Johnny Carson in the WSJHS Archives.”

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