Clara Dijkstra Awarded 2023-2024 USC Shoah Foundation Katz Research Fellowship in Genocide Studies
Clara Dijkstra, a PhD candidate in History at the University of Cambridge, Christ’s College, has been awarded the 2023-2024 USC Shoah Foundation Robert J. Katz Research Fellowship in Genocide Studies. She will be in residence at the USC Dornsife Center for Advanced Genocide Research in September 2023 to conduct research on the experiences of Jews and Roma (Tsiganes) in detention and internment camps in France during the Second World War.
At the Center, Dijkstra will examine what testimonies in the USC Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive (VHA) reveal about the emotional experiences of internment in the camps of Drancy and Poitiers. Interviewees discuss these camps in over 550 testimonies. Dijkstra plans to explore how different camp settings and conditions influenced the priorities, anxieties, and fears of internees; how the space of the camps affected their emotions; and how gender and notions of family affected their experiences of internment. She is also interested in analyzing how internees communicated about their emotional experiences at the time (in letters) and how that compares to how they remembered and reflected on their experiences afterwards (in memoirs and testimonies).
Dijkstra earned her BA in History with Honors at the University of Oxford, St Hugh’s College, and earned her Master of Studies in Modern European History at the same university, where she was awarded a Distinction. Alongside her PhD, she works as a Research Assistant at the Wiener Holocaust Library in London, where she organized a groundbreaking international symposium on new research about the Roma genocide and was co-organizer of a research workshop for early-career Holocaust scholars on the benefits, challenges, and issues that arise when working with letters as a source. She has extensive work experience as a writer, having served as a staff writer or reporter for Cherwell (the Oxford University student newspaper), Phaser (the Oxford University student magazine), Frontrunner Magazine, South West Londoner, City A.M. (London’s most-read financial and business newspaper), Hedgeweek, and Private Equity Wire.
The USC Shoah Foundation Robert J. Katz Research Fellowship in Genocide Studies is awarded annually to an outstanding advanced-standing Ph.D. candidate from any discipline for dissertation research focused on testimony from the USC Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive and related USC resources and collections. The fellowship enables the recipient to spend one month in residence at the USC Dornsife Center for Advanced Genocide Research during the academic year and to deliver a public lecture about his or her research, organized with the USC Shoah Foundation. The fellowship is named after long-time volunteer and former USC Shoah Foundation Board of Councilors Chair Robert J. Katz in recognition of his service to the USC Shoah Foundation.