Doctoral Students

The central mission of the Schusterman Center is to promote exemplary teaching and scholarship in the field of Israel Studies. As such, it supports doctoral students enrolled in Brandeis' Graduate School of Arts & Sciences whose research focuses on the modern State of Israel.

These Schusterman Scholars are part of the intellectual hub of students, faculty and visiting scholars that make up the Center. Biweekly seminars on Israel Studies enrich their academic coursework and prepare them to make significant contributions to the scholarship in the field.

how to apply

Our Current Schusterman Scholars

Maham Ayaz, NEJS

Maham Ayaz

Maham is a PhD candidate in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies and is writing her dissertation on the legal history of Israel from 1992 to 2013. Her research stems from her interests in comparative citizenship, boundaries of membership in nation-states, and courts as political institutions. In Spring 2021, she taught “Defining Status in the Modern State,” an original interdisciplinary course on citizenship, nationalism, indigeneity, and migration. She received her BA in International Studies from the University of Chicago, where she wrote her thesis on citizenship law in Bangladesh. She has previously worked at the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights and at the American Bar Foundation.

Shirah Malka Cohen, NEJS

Shirah Malka Cohen

Born in Israel and raised in Japan, Shirah completed her undergraduate studies in liberal arts at Doshisha University in Kyoto, during which she also spent time at Leiden University in the Netherlands and wrote her honour’s thesis on the impact of nationalism on the development of Modern Hebrew and Modern Japanese literatures. Her main interest is in the relationship between modernity and literature in the early 20th century, in particular in how writers processed their place in the world. She is interested in topics such as artistic intertextuality, especially the relationship between literature and music, as well as in themes such as anxiety and the sublime. In her graduate studies, she hopes to further delve into these topics, focusing on Hebrew, Japanese, English, and German literatures. 

Robert DeBoard, NEJS

Robert DeBoard

Robert is a PhD candidate in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies. He is currently writing his dissertation, a study of the British withdrawal from Palestine during the first phase of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. His research interests include the history of Mandatory Palestine, military history, counterinsurgency, and counterterrorism. Robert received his MA in History from Baylor University in Waco, Texas, where he wrote his thesis on Britain’s security policy for the Palestine Mandate from 1917-1947. He is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of Israel Studies at Binghamton University.
Maya Dworsky-Rocha, Anthropology

Headshot Maya Dworsky-Rocha

Maya Dworsky-Rocha is a a doctoral candidate at Brandeis University's Anthropology Department, a Fellow at the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies, and an adjunct Lecturer in Anthropology at Babson College. She received her BA in Anthropology from the University of Oregon and an MA in Comparative Humanities from Brandeis University. She studies childhood, whiteness, and militarism in Israeli education.
Rima Farah, NEJS

Rima Farah

Rima Farah is pursuing a doctoral degree in the department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis University. Her research revolves around the cultural and political history of minorities in the Middle East, with an emphasis on the formation and development of their ethnic and national identities. She published an article in the journal Israel Studies titled “The Rise of a Christian Aramaic Nationality in Modern Israel,” and she is in the process of writing her dissertation on “The Predicament of the National Identity of Christians in Israel: 1980-2014.” She holds an MA in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies from the University of Haifa, the city where she was born and raised, as well as an MA in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies from Brandeis University. Having grown up in a multicultural and multilingual society, Farah is fluent in Hebrew, Arabic, and English. She teaches Hebrew at Brandeis University and Middlebury College.

Eva Gurevich, NEJS

Eva Gurevich

Working at the intersection of cultural history and political theology, her dissertation examines a group of hegemonic Israeli literary and public figures who converted from 'left' to 'right' wing in the aftermath of the 1967 war, paving the way for the Israeli right wing and the settlement movement as we know it today. Her research interests include Jewish political thought, religious and secular messianism, gender and nationalism, place studies, as well as Israeli and Palestinian visual arts and literature. Eva speaks fluent Hebrew and Russian, has advanced proficiency in Yiddish, and is gaining proficiency in German. In 2019-2020 she was a visiting scholar at the Berkeley Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies at UC Berkeley. 

Mika Hackner, Politics

Headshot of Mika Hackner

Mika holds an MA in Politics from Brandeis University, an MA from the University of Haifa in Peace and Conflict Management, as well as an honors degree from the University of Cape Town in Justice and Transformation and a BA from the University of Auckland in Politics and History. She specializes in comparative politics and her research focuses on militant democracy with a specific interest on party bans. Her research interests also include comparative regime types; democratic transition and consolidation; and democratic regime persistence. Focusing most particularly on Israel and Germany, Mika’s dissertation explores when and why political parties are banned.

Skyler Inman, Anthropology
Skyler InmanSkyler Inman is a PhD student in Anthropology. Her research interests include ethnicity and migration, nationalism and the self, as well as family, identity, belonging, and the political and ideological formation of young people. She received a BA in English from Yale University, and an MA in International Development Studies from Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Before coming to Brandeis for her doctoral studies, she worked as a multimedia storyteller, writing, photographing, and producing radio pieces about a range of topics. Her dissertation will look at identity and belonging amongst non-Jewish youth in South Tel Aviv—primarily the children of asylum seekers and foreign workers—who are coming of age in Hebrew-speaking social and educational environments while grappling with their identities as the Israeli national "other."