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Dr. Danielle Christmas

Cummings Foundation Fellowship
“Auschwitz and the Plantation: Labor and Social Death in American Holocaust and Slavery Fiction”

Professional Background

Dr. Danielle Christmas is a postdoctoral fellow in literature at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She earned her PhD in English Literature from the University of Illinois at Chicago in June 2014, and her BA in English Literature from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri in 2005.

While in residence at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies Dr. Christmas worked on her project entitled “Auschwitz and the Plantation: Labor and Social Death in American Holocaust and Slavery Fiction.”

Dr. Christmas is fluent in both English and French. She has earned several other fellowships including the Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies for the 2013-14 academic year, the Abraham Lincoln Graduate Fellowship from the University of Illinois at Chicago for the 2012-13 academic year, and the Summer Institute on the Holocaust and Jewish Civilization Fellowship from the Holocaust Educational Foundation of Northwestern University for the summer of 2012.

Dr. Christmas’s published works include “The Plantation-Auschwitz Tradition: Forced Labor and Free Markets in American Holocaust and Slavery Narratives” for the journal Twentieth-Century Literature; “From ‘Eichmann-as-Victim’ to ‘Nazi-as-Jew’: Deconstructing Justice in American Holocaust Trial Films” for Aftermath: The Politics of Memory (2014); and “When the Holocaust Comes to Harlem: Traumatic Memory, Race, and Economic (In)Justice in American Holocaust Film,” co-authored with Dr. Adam Brown, for Mapping Generations of Traumatic Memory (2014). Dr. Christmas’s recent lectures and paper presentations include: “Repurposing the Nazi, Inhabiting the Jew: ‘Waking Up’ Rwanda in Urwintore’s The Investigation,” for her co-convened conference, The Future of the Past at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia (2014);  “Sexual (Re)Production, Social Death, and the Slavery Perpetrator,” at the 129th Modern Language Association Annual Convention; “A Parade of Villainous Vixons: Sex and Guilt in Jew Suss: Rise and Fall” at the Jewish Holocaust Centre of Victoria, Australia (2013),  “Racialized Urban America and Holocaust Film: Negotiating the ‘Limits’ of Representation,” at the 127th Annual American Historical Association Conference – Lives, Places, Stories (2013); and “Evil and the Economic: American Narratives of Eichmann and Hitler,” at the International Holocaust Studies Conference of Middle Tennessee State University.

Fellowship Research

During her time as a Cummings Foundation Fellow in the Mandel Center, Dr. Christmas used the Museum’s extensive resources to aid in the preparation of her book manuscript. She attempted to show how representations of Holocaust and slavery perpetrators contributed to American socioeconomic discourses. Some historians and authors have argued that perpetrator motives for American slavery and the Holocaust are aligned and have asked what, if anything, this analysis can tell us about notions of “right” and “wrong” in social relationships constructed around economics and race in the contemporary context. Dr. Christmas answered these questions and more during her research.

Dr. Christmas was in residence as a fellow at the Center from June 1 to September 30, 2014.