Pears Institute for the study of Antisemitism : Birkbeck University of London
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Past Research Fellows

Pears Institute Research Fellows

Dr Diana Popescu (2015-2019) joined the Pears Institute as a Research Fellow, funded by the Swedish Research Council. Her research and teaching include Holocaust studies, art history and museum studies. She has published work on the ethics and aesthetics of Holocaust representation in museums and in the visual arts. Her latest research focused on the educational impact of performative memorial practice. She is currently developing a project on immersive technologies in Holocaust education.

Dr Ludivine Broch (2012-2014) joined the Pears Institute as an Early Career Research Fellow in September 2012. Her work looks to unveil the political, professional, racial and emotional tensions of Vichy France (1940-44), and to understand the Holocaust through new social histories of the period. By examining the largely unknown history of French railwaymen under Vichy, her doctoral thesis intertwines the history of the working-classes with Holocaust history. Her new three-year project ‘Blacks, Jews and Vichy France’ argues that, in order to fully understand its role in the Holocaust, we need to explore Vichy’s attitudes towards other racial minorities. Does a history of blacks intersect with a history of Jews in this period? She will initially carry out a study of race and racism in intellectual thought, legal policy and linguistics in 1940-1944, before examining black (Caribbean and Sub-Saharan) experiences in French military, professional and cultural activities. 

Dr Becky Taylor (2012-2014) joined the Pears Institute as a Wellcome Research Fellow in September 2012. Her work considers the relationship between minority groups and British state and society in the twentieth century, and she has a particular interest in understanding how racism and intolerance are manifested at different levels of the state. Her new three year project, ‘Public health and ‘outsiders': British responses to refugees in the twentieth century’ will use four case study groups - German/Jewish refugees in the 1930s; post-1945 Displaced Persons; Ugandan Asians in the 1970s; and post-1991 refugees/asylum seekers - to explore continuities and differences in public health policy and practice across the century. It takes as its starting point the understanding that while refugees should in law be treated the same as British nationals, fears of ‘disease’ and ‘outsiders’ have meant that this has often been contradicted on the ground.

Dr Madelyn Travis (2011- 2012) was a Rothschild Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Institute. Her research focuses on the formation, transmission and perception of ethnic, cultural and national identity in children’s literature and culture. Her PhD thesis examined the position of Jews in Britain through representations of Jews and Jewishness in British children’s literature by Jewish and non-Jewish writers from the 18th century to the present day. Her current project explores the cultural history of Jewish childhood in London from 1860-1930. It focuses on debates about the nature of Jewish identity and its relationship to Englishness, both within the established Jewish community and between English Jews and immigrants from Eastern Europe.

Visiting & Honorary Research Fellows

Professor Jack Jacobs (2018) is a Professor of Political Science at John Jay College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York [CUNY]. He joined the Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism, as an Honorary Research Fellow. He received a PhD from Columbia University and was an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Columbia before coming to CUNY. During the autumn of 2018 he will be a Visiting Fellow at the Pears Institute, funded by the British Academy.  His research has focused on Jews and the Left, on the histories of Jewish socialist movements, and on the Frankfurt School.  Current projects include an attempt to ascertain the degree to which the trajectory of relations between Jews and the Left in other countries may shed light on current conflicts between Jews in Great Britain and the British Labour Party, and analysis of the ways in which Critical Theory may help us to understand contemporary antisemitism, racism, Islamophobia, and ethnic prejudice.

Dr Grzegorz Krzywiec (2018) is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of History, Polish Academy of Sciences. He joined the Pears Institute as a Visiting Research Fellow, funded by the British Academy, June-November 2018. His work concentrates on political and cultural antisemitism in the 'Polish lands' and Eastern Europe against the broader European backdrop, and on fascist and right wing ideologies since the late eighteenth century up to the present day. His current interests focus on the interactions between ideology, popular xenophobia, political violence and everyday activism. At the Pears Institute he is undertaking research on the Eastern European - mainly Polish - impact and transaction of ideas on Western (British) modern antisemitism in the period between the Russian Revolution and the early 1920s. This is part of a larger project on the cultural history of Polish fascism.

Marcel Stoetzler (2017) is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Bangor University, UK. He works on social and political theory, intellectual history and historical sociology. He works on (‘Frankfurt school’) Critical Theory, feminist theory, and the theory and history of antisemitism. Marcel just finished a textbook Beginning Classical Social Theory, (Manchester University Press, 2017) and started work on a book on Horkheimer and Adorno’s Dialectic of Enlightenment (1947).

Professor Alessandra Tarquini (2013) is an Italian historian at the University of Rome, 'La Sapienza'. She is an expert on the history of fascism and has written two books: the first published in 2009 on Giovanni Gentile and the second in 2011 on fascist culture. She has also published a long essay on 'Anti-Semitism, Zionism, Hebraism and the Arab-Israeli conflict in the Italian Socialist Press'.  Professor Tarquini’s current research project, which will also be the subject of a book, is on the Italian Left and the Jews between 1948 and 1992. Professor Tarquini will be based at the Pears Institute for the summer of 2013.

Dr Anya Topolski (2013) is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Centre for Ethical, Social and Political Philosophy, University of Leuven, Belgium. Her doctoral thesis, ‘Decolonizing the Judeo-Christian Identity of Europe’ was awarded the Auschwitz Foundation Stichting Prize and is being edited for publication. Anya’s current research focuses on the idea of Europe, antisemitism, Islamophobia, and racism. Anya joins the Pears Institute for three months in the summer of 2013 to work on the conceptual history of Judaism’s approach to charity and justice - tzedekah, Baruch Spinoza’s treatise, Tractatus Theologico-Politicus, and the shift from religion to race in the thought of Hannah Arendt and Edward Said.

Dr Joanna Michlic (2012) funded in part by the Rothschild Foundation, has a four month Fellowship at the Institute in 2012 to explore: 'Untold Histories: Polish-Jewish Children in Britain during and after the Holocaust’. Joanna is Project Director of the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, Brandeis University, Boston, US. Find Out More » 

Dr David Seymour (2011) is a lecturer on law at The City Law School, City University London. His research interests include law and the arts, critical legal theory, jurisprudence and antisemitism. He has written widely on the subject and is author of Law, Antisemitism and the Holocaust (Routledge-Glasshouse, November 2007). David spent four months at the Institute in Autumn 2011. His current research projects include anti-discrimination law, antisemitism and Holocaust Memory. Find Out More »  

Podcast: Antisemitism and the Law round-table discussion with Dr David Seymour, Professor Didi Herman and Professor Maleiha Malik.