Jewish Studies Cluster Students
Stephanie Brenzel is a Ph.D. Candidate specializing in Modern Jewish Thought. Before coming to Northwestern, she earned her B.A. in German and Religious Studies from Rhodes College. She is currently finishing her dissertation entitled "As Strong as Death: Franz Rosenzweig’s Philosophy of Love in The Star of Redemption" under the direction of Kenneth Seeskin. The goal of the dissertation is to unpack how Rosenzweig used the concept of love to radically change the idealist epistemological, ontological, and logical frameworks in his philosophical system. Stephanie has spent the past year doing archival work for her dissertation. She was awarded a Northwestern Research Grant and the Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy Fund Research Grant to conduct research at Universität Kassel and Dartmouth College. Other research interests include German idealism, German romanticism and Holocaust theology.
Lev Daschko is a doctoral candidate studying modern Eastern European history, with a focus on Bukowina in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century. He has presented papers on Ukrainian-language press’ treatment of Jews in First World War Galicia and Bukovyna, and the impact of Jewish postcard makers on Habsburg Czernowitz. Lev is currently writing his dissertation on everyday borderland in Bukovyna, Moldavia, and Bessarabia. Topics of interest include urban history, visual studies, multiculturalism, Ukrainian-Jewish relations, and the First World War. Lev received an Honours B.A. in History and Political Science from the University of Toronto in 2010 and an M.A. in History from the University of Western Ontario in 2012.
C. Tova Markenson
C. Tova Markenson is a PhD Candidate in Northwestern's Interdisciplinary PhD in Theatre and Drama. She received a MA in Theatre and Drama from Northwestern University, and a BA in English from Carleton College. Tova's dissertation on Latin American Yiddish theatre and Jewish women’s migration during the early twentieth century has received support from the American Academy of Jewish Research, American Society for Theatre Research, the Buffet Institute for Global Studies, The Graduate School, and the Chicago YIVO Society. Tova currently holds dissertation fellowships from the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture and the Sexualities Project at Northwestern. Her forthcoming article on Jewish prostitutes in Buenos Aires will appear in the edited collection Women on the Yiddish Stage (Syracuse University Press, eds. Alyssa Quint and Amanda Seigel). Tova is also a member of the Digital Yiddish Theatre Project.
Rachel Merrill Moss
Rachel Merrill Moss is a doctoral candidate in the Interdisciplinary PhD in Theatre and Drama at Northwestern University and a 2018-2019 Fulbright grantee to Poland. She holds a BA in Theatre from the University of California, Santa Cruz and an MA in Theatre History and Criticism from CUNY Brooklyn College. Rachel’s dissertation examines a variety of stage and public performances in Poland, specifically exploring shifting representations of Jewishness from the interwar period to post-soviet era, in conversation with changing modes of national identity formation and memory work. At Northwestern, she is a member of the Jewish Studies cluster and the Buffett Institute Russian and Eastern European Studies working group. Rachel has presented work at the American Society for Theatre Research (ASTR), the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE), and the Polish-Jewish Studies Working Group. She is the 2017-2018 Vice President of the Graduate Student Caucus of ASTR.
Grace Kessler Overbeke
Grace Kessler Overbeke is a 6th-year doctoral candidate in the Interdisciplinary PhD in Theatre and Drama, and was also the 2017-18 Crown Center for Jewish Studies fellow and the Searle Center for Teaching fellow. Her current work looks at the life and work of Jean Carroll, the first Jewish female standup comedian, as a lens to examine performances of Jewishness in the mid-century United States. She has published in Theatre Journal, Theatre Survey, Studies in American Humor, and The Jewish Forward, with forthcoming pieces in The New England Theatre Journal and Theatre Topics. She is also a practicing dramaturg, devisor, and improviser.
Idil Ozhan is a linguistic anthropology doctoral student at Northwestern University. Her dissertation project investigates the 2015 citizenship offer of Spain to Sephardic Jews, exploring language ideologies, citizenship, transnational migration, and the understandings of homeland and belonging among Turkish Sephardic Jews. Having a BA in sociology from Bogazici University, and an MA in Cultural Studies from Istanbul Bilgi University, Turkey, her MA thesis dealt with the affect and temporal politics of language loss. Idil worked as TA at the Department of Sociology at Istanbul Bilgi University (2014-17). As co-founder of YATOC (The Study Group on Jewish Communities) in Istanbul Bilgi University, she co-organized a number of roundtables and academic workshops on Jewish Studies in Turkey.
Bogdan Pavlish studies early modern history of Eastern Europe with a focus on Poland, Ukraine and Russia. He is particularly interested in cultural, religious and intellectual history of the region. His current research project explores different modes of negotiating and managing religious diversity in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in the 16-17th centuries. He earned his bachelor and master degrees in Political Science from Kyiv-Mohyla Academy in Ukraine and a master degree in Comparative History from Central European University in Budapest, Hungary.
Benjamin Ricciardi is a doctoral student in Jewish philosophy. Before coming to Northwestern, he earned an MA in Jewish Studies from the Jewish Theological Seminary and a BA in Philosophy from Arizona State University. He is particularly interested in developing the Kantian strain in modern Jewish philosophy, especially the Marburg school of Neo-Kantianism. His dissertation analyses the weekday Jewish liturgy as a response to the Problem of Evil. Benjamin’s other areas of interest include ethics and political philosophy. His advisor is Kenneth Seeskin.
Anastasiia Simferovska is a PhD student at the NU Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures. She wrote her MA thesis on Isaak Babel’s Red Cavalry (1926) focusing on the ways Babel used Judaic sacred and profane time to build his chronotope. Anastasiia is also a PhD candidate in Art History at the Lviv National Academy of Arts, Ukraine. She wrote her art history dissertation on Jewish, Polish, Armenian, and Ukrainian portraits in the turn-of-the- century Lviv (Lwow, Lemberg), a major Austrian and Polish multi-ethnic East European city of the time. In her scholarly endeavors, Anastasiia focuses on the intersection of the visual and the verbal in 1900-1945 Eastern Europe, particularly on the multi-ethnic territories of the former Habsburg Galicia. Her interests also include Jewish art during the Holocaust, and the transformation of artists' identities in the 20 th century with a focus on Jewish artists. Anastasiia presented the results of her research at the international conference “Shoah in Ukraine” (Sorbonne, Paris, Spring, 2017), at the EHRI seminar (Center for Urban History, Lviv, Fall, 2017), and at the TKUMA Institute for Jewish Studies (Dnipro, Ukraine, Fall, 2018).
Amanda Ruppenthal Stein is a PhD candidate (ABD) in Musicology and is the 2018-19 Crown Graduate Fellow of the Crown Family Center for Jewish and Israel Studies at Northwestern. She holds degrees in music history (thesis: “‘My Own Kaddish:’ Finding a Jewish Voice in Leonard Bernstein’s Symphony No. 3 ‘Kaddish’ and Other Works”) and clarinet performance, both from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and, in 2016, earned a Teaching Certificate through NU’s Searle Center for Advancing Learning & Teaching. Amanda's dissertation (working title: “Sounding Judentum: Assimilation, Art Music, and Being Jewish Musically in 19th Century Germany”) explores how art music served as an avenue of assimilation for 19th century German-speaking Jews and challenges existing scholarly narratives on musical expressions of Judaism and Jewishness by musicians during this period. As a recipient of a Northwestern University Graduate Research Grant, she traveled to Jerusalem and conducted research in the Friedrich Gernsheim archive at the National Library of Israel. She has presented at national and regional conferences including the annual meetings of the American Musicological Society and the Association for Jewish Music. In early 2019, Amanda will be joining members of the Cantors Assembly as part of a solidarity mission and recording project celebrating 100 Years of the Abayudaya Jewish community of Uganda.
Ariel Weinber is a second-year Ph.D. student in Comparative Literary Studies (CLS) with a home department in German, and holds a Mellon Fellowship in Jewish Studies, as well as a Doctoral Fellowship from the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). She received an Honors B.A. in Classics and Religious Studies in 2015 from the University of King’s College in Halifax. Her areas of research include the work of Walter Benjamin, continental philosophy, media and communications theory, psychoanalysis, hermeneutics, and 20 thcentury Jewish thought, particularly regarding questions of language, mediation, and perception. Back to top