Laughing Beyond the Walls : Humour and Laughter in the Warsaw Ghetto (1939-1943).
I am a DPhil Student in History at Exeter College and a Saul Kagan Fellow in Advanced Shoah Studies, with a specific interest in the history of every-day life under Nazi occupation in Poland. I am most interested in how Jews, as a fragmented and plural community, experienced and made sense of the events happening before them during years of persecutions and extermination.
My research explores the meaning and significance of humour and laughter in the everyday life of Jews living under Nazi occupation in the Warsaw ghetto. My doctoral project relies on the extensive use of first-hand accounts of victims of Nazi policies of discrimination and extermination. Especially, I am working with documents written in Polish and Yiddish found in the Ringelblum Archive, often not published and/or translated into the English language, and use diaries, notes, and letters as central prisms of historical analysis. Borrowing from methodological tools found in the practice of social and cultural history, the history of emotions and micro-history, I wish to look beyond the idealised conception of humour as a weapon of cultural and spiritual resistance. Instead, I offer to consider humour as a prism of analysis through which one can understand the fragmentation, hopes, fears and concerns of a plural Jewish community.
I am currently a Saul Kagan Fellow in Advanced Shoah studies and a former doctoral Fellow of the Fondation pour la Mémoire de la Shoah. My research has benefitted from grants and fellowship from the European Holocaust Research Infrastructure (Conny Kristel Fellowship), Exeter College (University of Oxford), the Faculty of History (Robert Gildea Fund) and the Faculty of Modern Languages (Ilchester Fund and Award).
Within the University, I co-convene the Modern European History Graduate Workshop at Magdalen College with fellow doctoral student Sara McQuaid, where we offer graduate students a platform to discuss their ongoing research in an informal and supportive environment. At College level I participate in various outreach programs and talks aimed at encouraging students from under-privileged social backgrounds to pursue historical studies at university level.
I have also had the opportunity to do historical research and consulting for Noiser a Bristol-based historical podcast aimed at making history more accessible to wider audiences.