Student Spotlight: Miriam Schulz, Ph.D. Candidate in Yiddish Studies

Friday, November 17, 2017
Miriam Schulz, Ph.D. Candidate in Yiddish Studies and winner of the 2017 Hosenfeld/Szpilman Prize, is featured in the Student Spotlight on the website of Columbia's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. 
 
Two excerpts from the interview:

 

What drew you to your field? 

I cannot think of a time when I have not been grappling with the modern Jewish experience and the myriad expressions of Jewish identities, both in their post-traditional and post-Holocaust guises. And it is primarily thanks to my mum and other cherished mentors along the way that I fell in love with the beauty and oft-forgotten richness of Yiddish—the vernacular of Ashkenazi Jewry—and its cultural articulations. This nucleus of modern Jewish culture has provided me with a whole new perspective, personally and as a scholar, and keeps allowing me to approach topics from a micro-historical standpoint for its very own sake and in order to better understand the bigger picture.

How would you explain your current research to someone outside of your field? 

I am trying to make the Yiddish voice heard in discourses where it has been marginalized, specifically in Holocaust studies and the study of the Soviet Union. In my dissertation, I attempt to provide the first comprehensive picture of how Soviet Jews reckoned with the Holocaust and the “Great Patriotic War” as interrelated phenomena in Yiddish. I hope this study will enrich our understanding of Soviet Jewry as a heterogeneous group with quite different modes of coming to terms with the most recent catastrophic past.