Caterina Di Fazio, Maastricht University
Di Fazio’s current project, “Phenomenology of Human Mobility,” is a comparative study of Mediterranean and Atlantic migration flows. It aims to understand new configurations of mobility and space vis-à-vis the externalization of borders, as well as to develop an ethics of borders based on the recognition of human rights and the relevance of migration narratives. Di Fazio seeks to provide a genealogy of the refugee status and a phenomenology of the migrant condition that both trace back to the birth of the nation-state in the Westphalian order, and confront the issues of the present, focusing on the connection between freedom of movement and the right of self-preservation. This genealogy is double-sided: on the one hand, it analyses the permanence of the nation-state form of political spaces; and on the other, it sheds light on the refugee movements in the context of the European crisis and, more broadly, the crisis of the nation-state. It elucidates both the rights of non-citizens in our democracies, and the normative foundations of the modern state’s right to regulate migration—in other words, the right, for migrants, to access public and political space and the right, for states, to choose whether or not to grant the right of asylum.
Susanne Heim, Free University Berlin
Heim is conducting a major study of refugee policy in the Nazi era. The subject of Heim’s study is the effects of that policy on the international refugee regime, non-governmental agencies, and refugee aid organizations and on the Jews who were forced to leave Germany and German-occupied territories. In recent years, refugee movements and statelessness have become a central, divisive topic in international relations. Wars, conflicts, and ecological crises mean that we now find ourselves at the beginning of a development that will only become more pressing in the coming years. In this context, many problems have re-emerged that were on the international agenda in the 1930s, when the antisemitic policy of the Nazi government forced more and more political opponents and particularly Jews to flee their homes across Europe. The project will investigate what effects German policies of forced migration had on potential countries of refuge, how policy was mediated by negotiation or by mere power plays between nation-states, and how it was influenced by refugee aid organizations and non-governmental agencies. Heim will also consider how refugees themselves perceived their predicament and asserted themselves in these negotiations around borders, national communities, and the rights of both citizens and the stateless.
Simone Laessig, German Historical Institute, Washington, D.C.
Simone Laessig’s book project explores the shifting meanings of family and kinship over the course of nearly two centuries. Spanning four generations and three continents, “Family and Enterprise in the Age of Industry” takes as its subject the Arnholds, a family of German-Jewish bankers who gradually translated local success into national prominence. Since the beginning of Laessig's tenure as director of the GHI Washington in 2015, she has been working primarily on Modern Jewish history, on the history of knowledge and migration, and on transnational biographies. These research fields converge in her new book project on the Arnholds, who had to emigrate from Germany in the 1930s and resettle in several countries around the world. Taking the Arnholds as a case study, she will examine the social, cultural, and economic relevance of family and kinship from the early nineteenth century to the 1970s, focusing on the influence of spatial and social mobility, experiences of disruption, and generational change. The case of the Arnholds’ extended family network provides the opportunity to analyze the social, cultural, and economic meanings attached to the idea of family over a prolonged period and against the backdrop of recurring political and economic upheaval.
New York University Doctoral Fellows
Tanya Schmidt, Department of English
Tanya Schmidt's dissertation, "The Resources of Fancy: Between Romance and Natural Philosophy in Early Modern England," constructs a new history of the imagination by centering the concept of "fancy,” the image-making faculty of the mind that is etymologically related to “fantasy.” By pairing for the first time in an extended way the work of Edmund Spenser (1552-1599) and Margaret Cavendish (1623-1673), Schmidt's dissertation discovers a new line of English literary history, argues that changes in fancy reveal how literature and science are co-created in the early modern period, and shows how early modern ideas about fancy showcase a more expansive vision for creative cognition than modern disciplinary divisions often allow for today.
Aristotle Tziampiris, University of Piraeus
Standing Fellow in European Affairs
Pedro Sánchez, Secretary General, Spanish Socialist Workers' Party