Doctoral Alumni

Where are they now?

Alumni of our Schusterman Doctoral Fellowship program have gone on to work in many fascinating areas, from teaching and research to government and beyond.
Ofir Abu, PhD '13, Politics

Ofir successfully defended his dissertation in the Politics Department, "State Response to Arab Protest, 1990-2001: The Role of Dissident Elites." He was awarded the prestigious Kreitman Post-Doctoral Fellowship at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in the Department of Public Policy and Administration. Ofir is a postdoctoral fellow at the Ben-Gurion Research Institute (BGRI) for the Study of Israel and Zionism at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. He is also a member of the Research Hub, "World Jewry in Israel,", at the Center for Israel Studies (CIS) at the BGRI. His primary research focus is identity conflicts and how they are manifested in public policy as well as in the political arena. He is engaged in research projects on the relations between the police and Ethiopian Jews in Israel (with Prof. Guy Ben-Porat and Dr. Fany Yuval), and on the electoral behavior of Mizrahim in the first two decades of Israeli independence (with Dr. Avi Bareli).

Guy Abutbul, PhD '11, Sociology

Guy successfully defended his dissertation, "The Production of Sephardic, Mixed and Ashkenazi Identities in the Israeli Middle Class," in the Fall of 2011. Following graduation, he was a lecturer in sociology at Ben Gurion University in the Negev, and a post-doctoral fellow at Tel Aviv University. Since October 2015, Guy has been a lecturer at the College of Management Academic Studies, Rishon LeZion.

Aviv Ben-Or, PhD '17, NEJS

Aviv completed his doctorate in 2017 with the generous support of the Dissertation Completion Fellowship awarded by the Association of Jewish Studies. His dissertation explores the works of Iraqi-born Israeli authors Shimon Ballas and Sami Mikhael, both of whom wrote in their native Arabic before switching to Hebrew. Specifically, he explored the construction of Arab-Jewish subjectivity in the context of transition from Arabic to Hebrew, as well as the implications of translingual writing for our understanding of the literary landscape in 20th century Israel. Awarded a University Prize Instructorship, Aviv taught a course at Brandeis in Fall 2015 entitled "Modern Arab-Jewish Literature."

Zeynep Civcik, PhD '14, NEJS

Zeynep successfully defended her dissertation in November 2014, entitled: "Civil-Military Relations in Israel and Turkey: A Comparative Study on Military Interventions." Part of her research was conducted at the Moshe Dayan Center at Tel Aviv University where she investigated the changes and continuities of Israeli security policy. Following graduation, she taught a course on Israeli politics and society at the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey. From 2016 to 2017 she was a visiting scholar at the Berkeley Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies at UC Berkeley School of Law. 

 

Ehud Eiran, PhD '10, Politics

Ehud's dissertation "Settling to Win: Strategic Settlement Projects in Post Colonial Times" was successfully defended in 2010. In 2012, he commenced an appointment as assistant professor at the University of Haifa. His 2012 article was published in Foreign Affairs "What Happens After Israel Attacks Iran: Public Debate can Prevent a Strategic Disaster." Ehud was as a research fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School. He is a board member at Mitvim, the Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies, and is also the founding co-director of the Haifa Research Center for Maritime Strategy.

Rachel Fish, PhD '13, NEJS

Rachel successfully defended her dissertation in 2013: "Configurations of Bi-Nationalism: The Transformation of Bi-nationalism in Palestine/Israel from the 1920s-Present." She served as associate director of the Schusterman Center from 2011 to 2018 and lectured in Brandeis' Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership Program and in various adult education forums. She is now senior advisor and resident scholar at the Paul E. Singer Foundation.

Eric Fleisch PhD '14, NEJS

Eric successfully defended his dissertation in 2014: "Israeli NGOs and American Jewish Donors: The Structures and Dynamics of Power Sharing in a New Philanthropic Age." In 2014-2015 was a post-doctoral research fellow at the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies at Brandeis, conducting research on American Jewry. In Fall 2014, Eric also taught a course on Israeli history in the Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis. From 2015-2017 he was Visiting Assistant Professor at Lehigh University in the Department of International Relations and the Berman Center for Jewish Studies. He is now an assistant professor in the Jewish Studies Program at Penn State, and is in the process of finishing the manuscript for his first book, "Checkbook Zionism: Philanthropy and Power in the Israel-Diaspora Relationship."

Randall Geller, PhD '11, NEJS

Randall successfully defended his doctoral dissertation on the Druze and other minorities in the Israel Defense Forces between 1948 and 1957. He held post-doc positions at American University and the University of Texas, Austin. In 2013 he was appointed the inaugural Les and Eva Erdi Lecturer in Israel and Middle East Studies at Monash University in Australia. For the 2014-2015 academic year, Randall was a post-doctoral fellow in Israel Studies at the University of Toronto, followed by a return to Brandeis for the Fall of 2015 as a lecturer in the Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership Program. He was subsequently a lecturer in history at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and at Emmanuel College. Currently, he is a lecturer in history at Bentley University and at Bridgewater State University. His book "Minorities in the Israeli Military, 1948–58" was published in 2017.

 

Mostafa Hussein, PhD '17, NEJS

An alumnus of Al-Azhar University in Cairo (MA 2009), Mostafa came to Brandeis to broaden his scholarly interest in the intersection between Jewish and Islamic thought. His doctoral dissertation explores the Hebrew scholarship on Arabo-Islamic civilization published in Palestine/Israel during the 1880s-1950s and the refraction of fundamental issues which played an important role in shaping the consciousness of the Hebrew Yishuv: Building a new Hebrew culture; the relationship between Jews and the land; and the relationship between Jews and the local Arab population. He is the recipient of a 2016 Dissertation Year Fellowship from Brandeis as well as a fellowship for 2016-2017 from the Frankel Institute for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan. See him highlighted in the Schusterman Center newsletterHe is presently a postdoctoral scholar in the Society of Fellows in the Humanities (2017-2019) at the University of Southern California.

 

Susanna Klosko, PhD '17, NEJS

Susanna received her BA from the College of William and Mary and has been with the Schusterman Center since 2009. She was awarded the Malkin Fellowship in Israel Studies (2009-2014) and the Israel Institute Doctoral Fellowship (2013-2015). In her dissertation, she examined the historical connection between immigration, chronic illness, and the Land of Israel by exploring how these were informed by an ethos of productivization and immigration control which came to Palestine not only with Zionist activists but with the jurisdiction of Western powers. In 2016-2017, she was a visiting scholar at the University of Virginia, teaching in the Jewish Studies Department. Susanna has since parlayed her doctoral degree into a career in technology. After working in metadata at the University of Virginia, she transitioned to the private sector, uniting her pedagogical skills with her technological expertise in the field of software implementation. 

Jason Olson, PhD '16, NEJS

Jason successfully defended his dissertation on "The Impact of the Six-Day War on Jewish-Protestant Relations." His dissertation shows how and why Christian solidarity with Israel shifted from the liberal Protestants before 1967, to the conservative Protestants post-1967, and how the rise of both the Likud party in Israel and the Christian Right in America has transformed the US-Israeli relationship itself. From 2014 to 2016 he served as a Navy chaplain and was stationed in Japan. See the Brandeis Now article. From 2016 to 2018 he was a command chaplain on the USS Shiloh, and then was an instructor for Central Texas College. In August 2018 he took on the position of Battalion Chaplain in the US Marine Corps. He holds naval subspecialty codes in Middle East studies, religion and culture, and national security. His book "America's Road to Jerusalem: The Impact of the Six-Day War on Protestant Politics" was published November 2018. In November 2019, Jason will be an adjunct faculty member at Park University in North Carolina, where he will teach courses on Middle East history and world religions to United States Marines and Sailors.

Shay Rabineau, PhD '13, NEJS

Shay was the Israel Institute Post-Doctoral fellow at the Schusterman Center for 2013-2014, and continued as the Israel Institute Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 2014-2015. His dissertation, “Marking and Mapping the Nation: The History of Israel’s Hiking Trail Network,” is the first to examine Israel's 10,000 kilometer trail network as a space on which Israelis articulate their relationship to the Land of Israel. In Fall 2015, Shay took up a tenure-track position as assistant professor of Israel Studies at Binghamton University, where is serves as associate director of the Center for Israel Studies. He teaches courses on "History of Modern Israel" and "Hiking the Holy Land." 

Joseph Ringel, PhD '11, NEJS

Joseph successfully defended his dissertation at Brandeis' NEJS department in 2011: "The Sephardic Rabbinate, Sephardic Yeshivot and the Shas Educational System." He taught at Drew University (2011-2012) and taught Israel studies and Jewish studies at the University of Maryland (College Park, 2012-2014). From 2014-2016, he was a Fulbright scholar in education at the University of Haifa. The the US and Israeli governments sponsored the fellowship for him to conduct research on national religious schools in Jewish settlements across the Green Line. From 2016-2018 he was a postdoctoral fellow at Northwestern University, teaching courses in Israel studies. Currently, Joseph is a fellow at Yeshiva University's Center for Israel Studies, where he is completing a manuscript for a book on Sephardic (Hispano-Arabic) religious culture in Israel, and is also editing two volumes on the Jewish communities of the Islamic world. 

 

Gangzheng She, PhD '18, NEJS

Upon graduation in May 2018, Gangzheng She was offered a tenure track position as Assistant Professor in the Department of International Relations at Tsinghua University in Beijing. Tsinghua ranks 17th around the world - 1st in China and the 3rd in Asia - according to the QS World University Rankings 2019. Dr. She has a degree in Hebrew Language and Culture from Peking University, where he co-founded the Jewish Cultural Research Association. His doctoral dissertation focused on China's involvement in the Arab-Israeli conflict during the Cold War. He has conducted research on the evolution of Israel's national image in mainstream Chinese media from 1949-1992. Prior to Brandeis, Gangzheng worked as a research associate at China Development Research Foundation and the Foreign Affairs office of Guangzhou municipal government.

Amber Taylor, PhD '19, NEJS

Amber successfully defended her dissertation, "Contest and Controversy in the Creation of the Brigham Young University Jerusalem Center, 1984-1987," on February 26, 2019. The dissertation examines the history of the Mormon Church in the Holy Land, with a particular interest in the way Mormons - in contradistinction to other Christian groups - have viewed and created a presence in the Land, and how that presence has been perceived by local residents as well as religious and social groups.  Dr. Taylor will bring her Israel studies expertise to bear in her new position as a writer/historian at the History Library of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, focusing on women's history.