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Disrupted Dissertation Grant Recipients 2022

Briitta van Staalduinen & Alex Mierke-Zartwarnicki

When COVID-19 restricted travel and closed archives around the world, many graduate students could not conduct research in Europe which was critical to their dissertations. Recipients of CES’s dissertation grants were no exception. CES, therefore, stepped in and announced new Disrupted Dissertation Grants to help graduate students resume travel and access important resources needed to advance their research during the pandemic. To date, CES has granted funding to 14 graduate students from five disciplines.


Elena Ayala-Hurtado

Elena Ayala-Hurtado (Sociology) ­– "This isn't quite what I expected": Insecurity and young college graduates in the United States and Spain

Hannah Cohen (Art, Film and Visual Studies) – The art of technics: Agents of aesthetic production, 1966 - present

Aniket De (History) – Federalism in empire: Britain, Germany and India, 1919-1947


Aden Knaap

Nathan Grau (History) – France's forgotten soldiers: Local paramilitaries on the frontlines of decolonization

Hanno Hilbig (Government) – Fiscal shocks, political accountability, and voter reactions on the municipal level

Jacobé Huet (History of Art and Architecture) – White cubes, European modernism, and Mediterranean vernacular

Aden Knaap (History) – Judging the world: International courts and the origins of global governance, 1899–1966


Nathan Grau

Lorenzo McClellan (History) – The autumn of high modernism

Alex Mierke-Zartwarnicki (Government) – Political parties and the crafting of identity-based politics

Hannah Pinkham (History) – Imperial brothers: Fraternity in the French colonial empire, 1763-1848


Rephael Stern (Ph.D., History)
Rephael Stern (Ph.D., History)

“Originally, I was looking more broadly at law and economic legislation and the legacy of the British Empire. However, once COVID made it difficult to get to archive abroad, I ended up shifting my focus away from economic legislation and going deeper into the study of law and how legal doctrines developed. Narrowing the scope of my dissertation allowed me to investigate my topic more thoroughly.

I’ve also enjoyed thinking about how my research sheds light on how modern states run. I think COVID made this even more apparent and has shown how the British and American systems succeeded or failed in their legal responses to a major health crisis and how courts (acting in the name of law) facilitated or obstructed these efforts.”


Rephael Stern (Ph.D., History)

Rephael Stern (History) – Afterlives of empire: Postcolonial state formation, 1939-1967

Briitta van Staalduinen (Government) – Ethnicity and social mobility in European welfare states

Christopher Williams-Wynn (History of Art and Architecture) – Critical systems: Conceptual art in a global information age, 1968-1980

Ye (Helen) Zhang (Government) – Midas' curse: The politics of decline in Western European leading economies


Note: This list is complete as of March 4, 2022.

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