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. He collaborates with Prof. Buy Ben-Porat and Dr. Fanny Yuval in researching attitudes toward police and policing among minority groups in Israel. He teaches in the Department of Politics and Government.

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. Since then, he has been a lecturer in Sociology at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

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. She teaches a course on Israeli politics and society at the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey.

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 Haifa University. His 2012  article was published in Foreign Affairs "What Happens After Israel Attacks Iran: Public Debate can Prevent a Strategic Disaster."

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." He was a post-doctoral research fellow at the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies at Brandeis, conducting research on American Jewry, and simultaneously working on his book manuscript. For Fall 2014, Eric was also a lecturer in Israeli history in the Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis. For the academic year 2015-2016, he took a position as post-doctoral fellow at Lehigh University in the Department of International Relations and the Berman Center for Jewish Studies. The post continues in the 2016-2017 year.

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.

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 newsletter.

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.

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. In 2014, he was called to active duty as a Navy officer and currently serves as a Navy Chaplain stationed in Japan. Brandeis Now article.

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. There 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 received a two-year Fulbright fellowship, sponsored by the US and Israeli governments, to do research on national religious schools in Jewish settlements across the Green Line. His academic home in Israel is the University of Haifa.

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 successfuly defended her dissertation, "Contest and Controversy in the Creation of the Brigham Young University Jerusalem Center, 1984-1987," on February 26, 2019. The dissertatoin 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.