2017 Recipients

Daniella Cohen, Yale Undergraduate Student

I am applying to the Baron Student Research Grant to help fund a five-week trip to Paris and Auvillar, France. I hope to explore how the rise of antisemitism affected French Jews in big cities versus rural areas, how non-Jewish French citizens interacted with Jewish neighbors, and the ways in which each location contributed to hiding/protecting Jews during the Holocaust. During my time in Paris, I will interact with the modern Jewish community and visit a number of powerful memorial sites – Paris’s Deportation Memorial, the Mémorial de la Shoah in Drancy, and the Museum of Resistance and Deportation of the Cher in Bourges, among others. In Auvillar, I will meet citizens with whom I will discuss the town’s rich history, specifically pertaining to relations between Jews and those of Roman Catholic or other ethnic/religious backgrounds. Overall, I intend to reflect on my modern experience of antisemitism in France (or the lack thereof) and seek to understand my personal experience abroad as a Modern Orthodox Jew in a country where antisemitism is on the rise in the context of a larger narrative about the history of antisemitism in France. 

Eve Sneider, Yale Undergraduate Student

This summer, I will interview people between the ages of 18 and 30 who have immigrated to Israel from North America, and use these interviews as the basis for a long-form written and/or audio journalism piece exploring young adult immigration from North America to Israel. The experience of making aliyah and the practicalities of immigrating in young adulthood fascinate me. I am eager to hear the people I speak with reflect on their motives, including whether antisemitism plays a role, and how the fantasy of Israel pre-immigration compares to the reality. I am also curious to learn about the connection between political views and the decision to make aliyah. Many people who make aliyah have grown up with deeply entrenched political beliefs about Israel. Does life in Israel reinforce or change those views? Tracking the change or continuity of my subjects’ political leanings will elucidate meaningful effects of the overall aliyah experience. When it comes to Israel, hearing someone speak enlivens the discourse and humanizes what too often becomes an abstract conversation. Individually, these narratives will engage us on a personal level. Collectively, they will enrich our understanding of Israel. My goal is to humanize and reevaluate often fraught and highly political conversations about Israel in America, especially among people my own age.

Elisabeth Becker, Yale Graduate Student in Sociology

My research project examines the experiences of Muslim and Jewish activists in Berlin who cooperate in resisting and responding to antisemitism and anti-Muslim acts, experiences, and discourse. Through participation in Salaam-Shalom events and interviews with its members, I highlight how a neighborhood initiative has blossomed into a model for cross-cultural/cross-religious cooperation and support in populaces often seen at odds with one another, but in fact facing similar experiences of discrimination. I seek to understand the development of this initiative, as well as its implications in and beyond the city of Berlin at a time of increasing divisions in Europe. 

Charlotte Kiechel, Yale Graduate Student in History

My project, “The Interwar Fight against Racism and Antisemitism: Documenting Nazi and Colonial Atrocities within the ‘French Imperial Nation-State,’” examines the practices of atrocity-documentation in interwar and wartime France. In recent years, historians and literary theorists alike have stressed the interconnections between the histories and memories of Nazi and colonial violence. Rather than viewing the atrocities of National Socialism and colonialism as two historically distinct phenomena, scholars have argued that they are in fact interrelated. 

Yet while many scholars have unearthed these “multidirectional” connections in the postwar writings of figures such as Hannah Arendt or Aimé Césaire, few have grounded this insight in the experiences and practices of individuals who witnessed and endured the Nazi persecution of European Jewry – that is, these interconnections have largely been located in postwar reflections, not contemporary accounts.   

Taking this oversight into account, my project focuses on anticolonial and humanitarian activists’ documentary practices before and during the Second World War.  My project addresses these central questions: To what extent did the logic and legacy of colonial rule shape victims’ and witnesses’ responses to Nazi persecution? How, in seeking to make sense of the ensuing destruction, did Jewish and non-Jewish witnesses draw upon documentary and interpretative strategies first developed in response to colonial violence? And finally, how did the experience of working against colonial forms of persecution inform witnesses’ and victims’ responses to Nazi persecution?

This summer I will be conducting research in four archives in France. I thank the program for its continued support.

Aneesha Kudtarkar, Emma Weinstein, Jecamiah Ybanez, Yale School of Drama Graduate Students

We, the cohort of first-year MFA Directing students at Yale School of Drama, will attend theater festivals in Romania and Poland and work with drama students to develop a new piece of theater, “Shattered Vessels,” that explores the history of antisemitism in both countries. We hope our work will illuminate the resurgence of religious intolerance and xenophobia in Europe and the United States and forge a lasting collaboration across borders.


Francesca Trivellato is a historian of early modern Europe and the Mediterranean whose interests revolve around a broad set of questions about the organization and the culture of the market place in the pre-industrial world.  

She received her BA from the University of Venice, Italy (1995), a PhD in economic and social history from the Luigi Bocconi University in Milan (1999), and a PhD in history from Brown University (2004). She is a recipient of fellowships from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Institute for Advanced Study, the American Academy in Berlin, and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

Her The Familiarity of Strangers: The Sephardic Diaspora, Livorno, and Cross-Cultural Trade in the Early Modern Period (Yale University Press, 2009) won the 2010 AHA Leo Gershoy Award for the most outstanding work published in English on any aspect of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century European history; was the co-winner of the Jordan Schnitzer Book Award for the best book in Early Modern and Modern Jewish History published in English between 2006 and 2010; and was selected for the long list of the 2010 Cundill Prize in History.

An earlier book examined the transformation of Venetian glass manufacturing in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries with regard to changes in the history of technology, craft guilds, women’s labor, and colonial trade: Fondamenta dei Vetrai: Lavoro, tecnologia e mercato a Venezia tra Sei e Settecento (Rome: Donzelli, 2000).

Other topics addressed in recent writings include maritime and commercial law, Renaissance Italy and the Muslim Mediterranean, microhistory, and global history.

She is completing a book on the images of Jews in European literature on commerce, tentatively entitled The Promise and Peril of Credit: A Forgotten Legend About Jews, Finance, and the Making of European Commercial Society. It examines the surprising twists and turns of a baseless yet influential narrative according to which medieval Jews fleeing France invented marine insurance and bills of exchange, the two key instruments of European commercial credit at the time.

She is also designing a digital platform for the analysis and visualization of the longest and most homogenous series of business contracts from pre-industrial Europe: roughly 5,000 limited partnerships (accomandite) registered in Florence from 1445 to 1808.