2023 Award Winners


Dr. Amy Fedeski is Alfred and Isabel Bader Postdoctoral Fellow in Jewish History at Queen's University, Kingston Ontario. She completed her PhD at the Corcoran Department of History, University of Virginia in 2022 with a dissertation entitled “What We Want To Do As Americans”: Jewish Political Activism and United States Refugee Policy, 1969-1981. Her doctoral research, which she is currently writing up as a book, argues that Jewish American Non-governmental Organisations fundamentally remade American refugee politics in ways which still resonate today. Dr. Fedeski's wider research interests focus on transnational Jewish migration politics during the Cold War.

While in Vienna, she will be conducting archival research for her second project, ‘All Doors Are Closed to Us: Soviet Jewish Returnees from Israel in Cold War Europe’. This research examines the experiences of Soviet Jewish migrants who, after first settling in Israel, returned to Europe seeking resettlement elsewhere. These migrants found themselves in legal and social limbo, unwilling to return to Israel and unable to claim refugee status in third countries. This project explores how returnees moved across Europe, engaging with national and international legal regimes, NGOs and Jewish communities across Europe and on the global stage, in search of stability and status.


Alina Schittenhelm is a PhD candidate at the University of Potsdam and an ELES research fellow since April 2022. Her PhD project focuses on topographies and gender in modern Mizrahi literature. From February to October 2023, she is on a research stay at the Department of Literature at Tel Aviv University funded by the German Academic Exchange Service. In May 2021 she finished her Master of Arts in Jewish Studies. Before that, she completed a Bachelor's degree in Jewish Studies and Philosophy at the University of Potsdam. Her areas of interest include the Hebrew language and literature as well as Israel and Mizrahi Studies.

Alina Schittenhelm's PhD project is dedicated to spatial representations in Mizrahi Literature by female authors. The study aims at making counternarratives and differentiations in the image of Jewishness through voices from the spatial and social edge of Israeli society visible. The works of authors such as Ronit Matalon, Dorit Rabinyan, Mona Yahia and Sara Shilo are examined in terms of content as well as language. The work is located in the discipline of Israel Studies and deals with the artistic processing of history, memories and society.

Her research stay in Vienna will allow Alina to consider her topic more broadly in a European context. The different disciplines and foci at the department enable her to engage in academic exchange and open up new horizons beyond the topic of her research. At the same time, her experiences and specific expertise in the field of Mizrahi literature and culture contribute to strengthening non-Ashkenazi and Mizrahi perspectives in Jewish Studies and to further promote a pluralistic, inner-Jewish but also interreligious dialogue.