About

Alison B. Curry is a Ph.D. Candidate in History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she works with Dr. Karen Auerbach. Previously, she received her M.A. in Holocaust and Genocide Studies from Gratz College, advised by Dr. Michael Steinlauf, and a Graduate Certificate in Digital Public Humanities from George Mason University.

Curry’s dissertation, tentatively titled “In the Space of the Dead: Tradition, Identity, and Everyday Life in the Jewish Cemeteries of Poland, 1918-1945,” will examine the ritual, spatial, and functional uses of Jewish cemeteries in Poland during the interwar period and through the Second World War. Through examination of municipal records, land holdings, Jewish communal records, oral histories, memoirs, and testimonies this project argues that during these time periods cemeteries served a central space through which Jewish identity was contested and enforced. Curry’s dissertation will explore how Jewish cemeteries were central spaces of conflict between tradition and modernity, religion and secularism, and served as a boundary between the world of the living and the dead. By examining such spaces over the period of the interwar and the Second World War, this dissertation suggests that scholarly assessment of the two periods can be accomplished together, and such comparative assessment allows historians to make better sense of continuities and divides in Jewish history.

While at UNC, Curry has received multiple fellowships and awards, including the Digital Humanities Fellowship from the Digital Innovation Lab at UNC-Chapel Hill, the Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship in Polish, the Jack O. Spies and Family Jewish Studies Grant from the Carolina Center for Jewish Studies, the ASEEES Dissertation Research Grant, the Graduate Studies Language Workshop Grant from the Carolina Center for Jewish Studies, the Graduate Student Research and Travel Grant from the Carolina Center for Jewish Studies, and The Aleksander and Alicja Hertz Memorial Fellowship and the Samuel and Flora Weiss Research Fellowship in Polish Jewish Studies from the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. Currently, Curry serves as a Saul Kagan Fellow in Advanced Shoah Studies from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany.  Most recently, Curry was awarded the Christopher Browning Student Excellence Award in Jewish Studies from the Carolina Center for Jewish Studies.

Curry has participated in many conferences while a doctoral student, including a conference hosted by the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw, Poland, graduate student conferences hosted by Clark University and Indiana University at Bloomington, and the Lessons And Legacies Conference held in Prague in November 2023. Finally, she also has a publication forthcoming in the Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry journal (anticipated Fall 2024), titled “After Death: Identity, Tradition, and Ethics Surrounding the Dead Jewish Body in Poland.”

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