2008–09 David and Fela Shapell Fellow Dr. Brigitte Sion
Dr. Brigitte Sion is Assistant Professor/Faculty Fellow of religious studies at New York University. She received a Ph.D. in performance studies from the same institution, an M.S. in journalism from Columbia University, and an M.A. in romance languages from the University of Pennsylvania. She also received a Licence és Lettres in French and German from the University of Geneva in Switzerland. For her David and Fela Shapell Fellowship, Dr. Sion will conduct research for her project on “Theatrical Performance in Nazi Camps.”
Dr. Sion is the editor of Trauma, Memory, and Performance in Argentina (Seagull Press, forthcoming), the author of Max Ehrlich: Le Théâtre contre la Barbarie [Max Ehrlich: Theater against Barbarism] (Metropolis, 2004) and the author of two books on the social history of automobile (Slatkine, 2002 and 2005). She has also published several book chapters and articles in scholarly journals, including multiple entries in The Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World (Brill, 4 vol., forthcoming); “Affective Memory, Ineffective Functionality: Experiencing Berlin’s Holocaust Memorial” in editors William Niven and Chloe Paver’s Memorialisation in Germany since 1945 (Palgrave/Macmillan, forthcoming); “Remembering Anne Frank: Icon of Tolerance, Target of Anti-Semitism” in editors Barbara Kirshenblatt-Geimblett and Jeffrey Shandler’s Mediating Anne Frank (Indiana University Press, forthcoming); and “Anti-Semitic Letters to the Editor in Swiss Media and the Crisis over Holocaust-Era Dormant Accounts (1995-2002) in editor Josef Seethaler’s Jewish Images in the Media (Austrian Academy of Sciences Press, 2007). Dr. Sion is the recipient of several awards and fellowships, including a Corrigan Doctoral Fellowship from New York University, a Dorot Foundation Travel Grant from the Association for Jewish Studies Conference, and a Paulette Goddard Stipend for academic achievement from New York University. She is fluent in French, German, and Spanish.
During her tenure at the Center, Dr. Sion will study theatrical performances by Jewish inmates in Nazi concentration camps. Her research will reveal the conflicting intentions of the Jewish actors in relation to their Jewish audience and the Nazi camp administrators. She will study the interplay of entertainment and persecution, from resistance to perversity. Dr. Sion’s fellowship project is an expansion of her published biography of Max Ehrlich, a German-Jewish actor who continued acting while a prisoner at the Westerbork camp in the Netherlands. Dr. Sion will utilize the Museum’s secondary sources and archival collections, focusing primarily on Nazi audio-visual material, survivor testimonies, and relevant German archives, to complete her research.