Skip to main content

Graduate Students

Fellows

  • 2019-2020 Dita and Erwin Gumpel Fellow

    Fellow information
  • Xiaojiao Wang, 2019-2020 Katzin in Perpetuity Fellow

    Xiaojiao Wang, 2019-2020 Katzin in Perpetuity Fellow

    M.A. in Literary Theory, Université Paris-Diderot
    M.Phil. in East Asian Studies, Wolfson College, University of Cambridge
    B.A. in Literature, Xi’an International Studies University, China

    Xiaojiao Wang is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Literature whose dissertation project illustrates an eclectic image of spatial mobilizations and social movements in Shanghai and Paris across the 20th century. By introducing the concept of juvenescence, it sets out to explore the role of youths in rejuvenating social practices and in transgressing legal and spatial boundaries. In both Shanghai and Paris, several young Jewish revolutionaries became key figures in constructing a transgressive and transnational connectivity as well as in mobilizing urban and discursive spaces. Their Jewish background, which shares certain common ground with the concept of juvenescence, significantly contributes to the rejuvenation of urban spaces in both cities with a sense of communauté, a revolutionary aspiration, and a transnational and cross-boundary connectivity.

    Xiaojiao is also a part-time translator who has co-translated Julia Kristeva’s La Révolution du langage poétique into Chinese and she is currently translating the second volume of Jacque Derrida’s last seminars La bête et le soverain.

Anthropology

  • Sowparnika Balaswaminathan, Ph.D. Candidate

    Sowparnika Balaswaminathan, Ph.D. Candidate

    Advised by Thomas Levy

    Sowparnika Balaswaminathan is a PhD candidate at the Department of Anthropology who works with a traditional bronze sculptor community in south India who have ancestral ties to medieval artisans and temple builders. An aspect of her dissertation involves looking into the medieval metal trade between Jewish traders from the Middle East, and South Indian metalworker guilds. Much like the contemporary situation in which these bronzecasters who make religious idols also make the same as secular, decorative objects, sculptors in the past also split their times between doing temple-centric art and secular commercial craft. During the course of her graduate studies, Sowparnika has also participated as a volunteer in an archaeological dig in Apollonia-Arsuf in Herzliya, Israel at a crusader castle run by the Institute of Archaeology in the Tel Aviv University, and worked as the field lab manager at Faynan, Jordan under the supervision of her advisor, Professor Thomas Levy for his Edom Lowlands Regional Archaeology Project.

  • Kathleen Bennallack, Ph.D. Candidate

    Kathleen Bennallack, Ph.D. Candidate

    Advised by Thomas Levy

    Jewish Studies academic blurb coming soon...

  • Genevieve Okada Goldstone, Ph.D. Candidate

    Genevieve Okada Goldstone, Ph.D. Candidate

    Genevieve Okada Goldstone is a PhD candidate in psychological and sociocultural anthropology. Her dissertation fieldwork focused on conversion to Judaism in Los Angeles, the second largest Jewish community in the U.S. and where hundreds of conversions happen every year. Genevieve is interested in the increasing racial and ethnic diversity within the American Jewish community and her work includes an emphasis on Asian, Latino, and African American converts.
  • Matt Howland, Ph.D. Candidate

    Matt Howland, Ph.D. Candidate

    Advised by Thomas Levy

    Matt Howland is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Anthropology, focusing on the archaeology of the southern Levant. His dissertation research focuses on the social organization of copper production and trade in Israel and Jordan in the early Iron Age, the period of David and Solomon. Matt investigates the extent to which different ancient polities, including Edom, Israel, and Judah, were involved in the trade and trafficking of copper with cutting-edge digital methods, including 3D imaging and Geographic Information Systems.

  • Ian Jones, Ph.D. Candidate

    Ian Jones, Ph.D. Candidate

    Advised by Thomas Levy

    Ian Jones is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Anthropology whose research examines the social and political-economic aspects of copper production in southern Jordan during the late 1st millennium and early 2nd millennium AD, or the Early and Middle Islamic periods. As a historical archaeologist, his work is informed by information about metal trade and production found in historical texts, including the Cairo Geniza, a large group of primarily medieval texts found in the Ben Ezra Synagogue in Fustat, Egypt. In addition to numerous excavation and survey projects in southern Jordan, Ian has also participated as a volunteer in excavations at Tell es-Safi — the Philistine city of Gath — in Israel.

  • Brady Liss, Ph.D. Candidate

    Brady Liss, Ph.D. Candidate

    Advised by Thomas Levy

    Brady Liss is a Ph.D. student in Anthropological Archaeology focusing on the Iron Age, the period of David and Solomon, in southern Israel and Jordan. His interests and research focus on ancient metal production and how industrial scale copper production influenced the social, political, and economic development of Iron Age polities such as the biblical Edomites.

  • Jackson Reece

    Jackson Reece

    2018-2019 Katzin Fellow

    Jackson Reece is a first-year master’s student in UC San Diego’s anthropology department, where he focuses on the Roman period in the eastern Mediterranean basin, particularly along the west coast of Israel, under the supervision of Professor Tom Levy. After Jackson completed his BA at Macalester College, he participated in a few excavations in Israel and finished a digital reconstruction project of the Roman temple at Horvat Omrit in the Golan Heights. He entered the anthropology department at UC San Diego and was encouraged to explore a multidisciplinary approach through partnerships with scholars from places like the Jewish Studies Program, the Scripps Center for Marine Archaeology, and the Center for Cyber-Archaeology and Sustainability. The Katzin Fellowship allowed Reece to acquire the proper certifications for scientific diving, as well as the equipment needed for training dives at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and for the marine excavation at Tel Dor in the summer of 2018. He continued to apply these skills and equipment exploring coastal sites in February 2019 when he participated in the joint UC San Diego-University of Haifa Carmel Coast Marine Archaeology Expedition led by Levy and Professor Assaf Yasur-Landau.

  • Craig Smitheram, Ph.D. Candidate

    Craig Smitheram, Ph.D. Candidate

    Advised by Thomas Levy

    Jewish Studies academic blurb coming soon...

  • Anthony Tamberino

    Anthony Tamberino

    2018-2019 Katzin Fellow

    Anthony Tamberino is a second year doctoral student in anthropology at UC San Diego, where he focuses on the application of technological approaches to archaeological research and maritime archaeology in Israel. He is supervised by Professor Tom Levy. Prior to graduate school, Tamberino was an avionics technician in the Air National Guard where he learned about the capabilities of technology for search and rescue operations. He is currently working on a project called the Israel 3-D Land and Sea Project 2019, where he pilots a drone to make high-precision 3-D models and accurately georeference maps of archaeological remains on the Carmel Coast of Israel. The Katzin Fellowship allowed Tamberino to purchase the drone and support equipment, photography lenses, computing equipment, and highly accurate GPS units to precisely and accurately record archaeological sites. He continued his research in Israel and the eastern Mediterranean in February 2019 when he participated in the joint UC San Diego-University of Haifa Carmel Coast Marine Archaeology Expedition led by Levy and Professor Assaf Yasur-Landau.

History

  • Juan Carmona Zabala, Ph.D. Candidate

    Juan Carmona Zabala, Ph.D. Candidate

    Advised by Thomas Gallant
    2012-13 Gumpel Fellow

    M.A. in European and Mediterranean Studies from New York University
    Licenciatura in Translation and Interpretation from the University of Málaga, Spain

    Juan's dissertation project studies the multiple ways in which the production, processing and commercialization of tobacco influenced the development of state institutions in Greece in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, as well as the country's relationship with Germany, which was the main importer of Greek tobacco. He is especially interested in how different groups (farmers, urban workers, business organizations, political elites) strived to influence the governing mechanisms that existed around Greek tobacco in order to further their own interests. One important part of his project is the study of how the Jewish population of Salonika and Cavalla, the most important centers of Greek tobacco trade, experienced the intensification of anti-Semitism and political radicalization in northern Greece in the interwar period, which resulted in the exclusion of Jewish merchants from tobacco trade, and of Jewish tobacco workers from leading positions in the labor movement.

    https://ucsd.academia.edu/JuanCarmonaZabala

  • Nur Duru, Ph.D. Candidate

    Nur Duru, Ph.D. Candidate

    Advised by Deborah Hertz

    Jewish Studies academic blurb coming soon...

  • William Skiles, Ph.D. Candidate

    William Skiles, Ph.D. Candidate

    Advised by Deborah Hertz and Frank Biess

    M.A in Divinity, Fuller Theological Seminary

    William Skiles is currently a lecturer at California State University, San Marcos, and is finishing up his dissertation on the Confessing Church in Nazi Germany. His research focuses on German pastors and their views of the Nazi regime and its anti-Semitic policies, especially as expressed in sermons.  In particular, his research explores the lives and careers of German pastors of Jewish descent and their experiences in Nazi Germany and in exile.

  • Trisha Tschopp

    Trisha Tschopp

    2017-18 Gumpel Fellow

    Trisha Tschopp is a Ph.D. student in the Department of History (Science Studies) whose work focuses on agricultural development in Israel / Palestine in the 20th century. Her work is situated at the intersection of environmental history, human geography, and science and technology studies (STS). Using qualitative methods, she researches how agricultural technology develops historically and how it changes perceptions of landscapes of the modern Middle East. Before coming to UC San Diego, she received a Master's degree in International Agriculture and Rural Development (Cornell University) and a Master's degree in Jewish Studies (Hebrew College). She also participated in Harvard University's Leon Levy Archaeological Expedition to Ashkelon, Israel (2008).

  • Teresa Walch, Ph.D. Candidate

    Teresa Walch, Ph.D. Candidate

    Advised by Frank Biess
    2016-17 Gumpel Fellow

    M.A. in European History, University of California San Diego, 2015
    B.A. in History & German, The College of Saint Benedict, 2010

    Teresa’s dissertation project investigates space (from entire cityscapes down to specific neighborhoods, streets, and buildings) in Nazi Germany.  She examines how the regime, city officials, and ordinary Germans appropriated and redesigned space to fit their ideological visions and the extent to which they employed space as a means of social control during the Third Reich, physically demarcating who and what belonged – or did not belong – to the national community. A central aspect of her project explores the transformation of Jewish neighborhoods and buildings in German cities from 1933-1945. She is interested in researching how Jews were excluded from public space as well as how Germans physically and symbolically transformed and appropriated “Jewish spaces” in an attempt to erase even the memory of their presence in the urban landscape. Teresa received a Fulbright fellowship to conduct dissertation research in Berlin from 2015-2016.

Literature

  • Jane Coulter

    Jane Coulter

    Advised by Nicole Tonkovich and Michael Davidson

    Jane Coulter, a Ph.D. candidate in the Literature department, researches Jewish immigrant modernists in the Progressive era. Her analysis of novels concerned with and written by Jewish immigrants delineates how cultural identity, including religion, can texture claims about modernism and modernity. In particular, her research focuses on the work of Anzia Yezierska, Henry Roth, and Gertrude Stein. Coulter’s dissertation proposes a new connection between the Progressive era discourse that shaped immigrant education and the field of ethnic modernism. Her work examines what she considers the modernist pedagogy of interwar novels of the 1920s and 1930s.
  • Julia Fermentto Tzaisler, Ph.D. Candidate

    Julia Fermentto Tzaisler, Ph.D. Candidate

    Advised by Amelia Glaser
    2015-16 Gumpel Fellow

    Julia's main research question deals with the Biblical myth of the Promised Land and its modern manifestations in early twentieth century Jewish literature. The myth of the Promised Land had gone through many transformations from its Biblical association, through its evangelical return, its move to America and its final resting place in the Israeli State. In her proposed doctoral project she plans to build a comprehensive study of the modern reinterpretation of the biblical myth of a Promised Land illustrating how Zionism, globalization and capitalism reshuffled the cards and changed the myth’s metaphorical and physical face. One of her long-term goals is also to look at the intersection of language and immigration in both Jewish-American and Modern Hebrew literature — comparing the writings of Anzia Yezierska, Devorah Baron and Hemda Ben-Yehuda.

  • Sarika Talve-Goodman, Ph.D. Candidate

    Sarika Talve-Goodman, Ph.D. Candidate

    Advised by Amelia Glaser
    2014-15 Gumpel Fellow

    Sarika Talve-Goodman is a PhD candidate in Cultural Studies currently researching issues of trauma and the politics of historical memory in transnational Jewish literature and culture, from the modernist period to the present. She holds an MS in Narrative Medicine from Columbia University, an interdisciplinary field that examines the role of narrative and storytelling in health care. She received a Fulbright scholarship to conduct dissertation research on how issues of power and identity shape narrative medicine practices in Israel. 

  • Tatiana Zavodny

    Tatiana Zavodny

    2017-2018 Gumpel Fellow

    Tatiana Zavodny is a Ph.D. candidate in the Literature department. Her research incorporates a sociohistorical approach to examining the representation of Jewish identity in 19th century Italian literature. Grounding this project within its historical context can shed new light on the role of Jewish identity and actual Jewish communities in shaping the imagined identity of the Italian nation, culminating in the Risorgimento.

Theatre & Dance

  • Alexandra Viterbi

    Alexandra Viterbi

    2018-2019 Gumpel Fellow

    Alexandra Viterbi is a master’s student in playwriting at UC San Diego, where she is committed to redefining and sculpting the contemporary Jewish narrative. Viterbi graduated with distinction from Yale University with a BA in theatre studies. Upon graduating from Yale, she moved to New York City to pursue playwriting, and since then her plays have had productions around the world, from New York City to Melbourne, Australia. Viterbi is currently working on multiple productions including a play that follows a Jewish family’s Passover ceremonies over generations and a television pilot about a Hasidic couple in Brooklyn living a double life. The Gumpel Fellowship has allowed her more freedom and flexibility to truly delve into the worlds in which her Jewish productions take place.