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Dr. Alexandra Natoli

Dr. Alexandra Natoli
J.B. and Maurice C. Shapiro Fellow

“Bodily Matters: Remembering Outhouse Space in the Nazi Camps"

Professional Background

Dr. Alexandra Natoli is Assistant Professor of French at the University of Southern Indiana, a new role she will begin in August 2019. She earned her Ph.D. in French from the University of Virginia. As the J.B. and Maurice C. Shapiro Fellow at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, Dr. Natoli will be conducting research for her project, Bodily Matters: Remembering Outhouse Space in the Nazi Camps.

Dr. Natoli has presented her research at various conferences. In 2013, she took part at the centenary colloquium honoring French Resistance member and Auschwitz-Birkenau survivor Charlotte Delbo. She presented her paper, “Le corps absent: la figure humaine en tant qu’espace négatif chez Charlotte Delbo” at the event, which was jointly organized by Delbo’s estate and the National Library of France (BnF). She presented early research for the “Bodily Matters” project at the 2017 Emerging Questions in Holocaust Testimony conference, giving a paper entitled, “Exploring Outhouse Space in the Nazi Camps.” She recently gave a talk entitled, “The Road Away from Auschwitz: Embodying Absence in Francophone bande dessinée” at the Lessons and Legacies XV conference in St. Louis.

Dr. Natoli is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships. In 2016, she was a fellow at the Summer Institute of Northwestern University’s Holocaust Education Foundation. In 2013, she was the recipient of an Arts, Humanities, and Social Science Summer Research Fellowship (UVa), which permitted her to conduct archival research on Charlotte Delbo at the BnF in Paris. 

Dr. Natoli is fluent in English and French and possesses intermediate Polish language skills, having received a Summer Foreign Language Fellowship to study Polish in Krakow, Poland in 2014.

Fellowship Research

While in residence at the Mandel Center, Dr. Natoli seeks to explore the complex and often surprising roles of outhouse areas in survivor memory, using written and oral testimony. She will conduct research to examine outhouses as sites of commercial and social exchange and to analyze the experience of those who worked in these spaces. Her research will also examine how the physicality of these different locales shaped survivor’s perceived relationships to them. Through her research, Dr. Natoli seeks to reorient our gaze towards the everyday by contemplating one of the most central, yet frequently neglected, aspects of daily existence in the Nazi camps. By mapping the conflicted yet critical ways survivors remember outhouse areas, she seeks to create a more nuanced vision of these sites and their surrounding narratives portrayed in survivor memory.

Dr. Natoli will be in residence through August 31, 2019, and can be contacted at