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OHC dissertation fellows benefit from the gift of time to focus

Just as faculty research fellowships are essential to the professional development of tenure-track humanities faculty, Dissertation Fellowships are similarly critical to the completion of the PhD degree for graduate students. Many—if not most—graduate students teach as GE’s (Graduate Employees) to support themselves and gain valuable classroom experience while completing their doctoral programs. It can be very challenging for them to carve out sufficient concentrated time to focus on writing the dissertation. The OHC, in collaboration with the Graduate School and the College of Arts and Sciences, is able to help graduate students over this final hurdle on their path to a doctorate with a term off from teaching, a generous stipend, paid tuition and health insurance, and a quiet space in which to work. We are currently able to support three one-term dissertation fellows per year, and hope to maintain or increase that number in the years ahead.

Natalie Brenner

Natalie Brenner, a PhD student in Romance Languages, used her fellowship period to “tackle the most challenging and complex chapter of [her] dissertation.” Her project, “Generating Geographies and Genealogies: Jewish Francophone Women Writing in the 20th Century,” uses memory and gender theories as lenses through which to read and analyze the works of six 20th C. French–speaking Jewish women writers. In her dissertation, Brenner explores the possibilities and limitations of both autobiography as a genre, and national historiographies. Brenner claims that the six writers who are the focus of her study, and whose lives span a period of three generations, form a literary genealogy linked by experiences of war and (de)-colonization which ultimately crosses both national and temporal boundaries.

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