“No Second Troy: Trauma and Ideology in the Recreation of Warsaw, 1919-1968”
Emily Julia Roche is currently PhD Candidate in History at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. Ms. Roche received a joint Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in Russian and Slavic Studies from New York University, as well as a Master of Arts in History from Brown University. She has language skills in Polish, Russian, German, and Yiddish.
Ms. Roche is the recipient of several awards, including a Dissertation Research Grant from the Association of Slavic, Eastern European, and Eurasian Studies (2020), a Graduate Student Research Grant from the Polish Studies Association (2020), and a Fulbright Study-Research Fellowship in Warsaw, Poland (2016-7). Her publications include an original translation of Władysław Szlengel’s “What I Read to the Dead” in Jewish Currents. In addition, Ms. Roche has presented at conferences and given guest lectures in Poland, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the United States. Aside from her dissertation, she has worked on research projects concerning comparative memorial culture in Berlin and Warsaw, suicide in the Warsaw Ghetto, and the relationship between nationalism and internationalism in interwar modernism.
Ms. Roche was awarded a Friedman Memorial Fellowship at the Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies to conduct research towards her dissertation project, “The Necessity of Building: Polish Architecture and Architects in the Twentieth Century.” Focusing primarily on first-person sources from the generation of Warsaw architects that was most active just before, during, and after the Second World War, her research examines the ways in which the experience of war, occupation, and genocide shaped social and professional networks among architects and subsequently influenced the trajectory of Polish modernism. By highlighting intrapersonal relationships and networks as foundational aspects of the architectural profession, Ms. Roche argues that wartime violence and trauma influenced both the postwar shape of the profession and the new postwar shape of the city of Warsaw. At the heart of this project are new ideas about the centrality of war memory in Warsaw’s postwar recreation, the unique experience of genocide in cities, and the relationship of postwar architectural modernism to prewar styles. In her work, Ms. Roche aims to reconnect the legacy of the aftermath of the Holocaust and communism in Poland to the story of the war and its trauma through the optic of architecture and the stories of architects.