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Dr. Margaret Paxson

Miles Lerman Center for the Study of Jewish Resistance Research Fellow
"Remembering the Good: Legacies of Rescue and Resistance in Le Chambon-sur-Lignon"

Professional Background

Margaret Paxson is Senior Associate at the Kennan Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and Visiting Scholar at the Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies at George Washington University. She received a Ph.D. and an M.Sc. in anthropology from the University of Montreal and a B.A. in anthropology at McGill University. For her Research Fellowship of the Miles Lerman Center for the Study of Jewish Resistance, Dr. Paxson conducted research for her project, “Remembering the Good: Legacies of Rescue and Resistance in Le Chambon-sur-Lignon.”

Dr. Paxson is the author of Solovyovo: The Story of Memory in a Russian Village (2005) as well as scholarly articles and book chapters, including “They Call it Home: One Family's Life in a Rural Village Gives the Lie to Ethnic and Religious Stereotypes about the North Caucasus Region, Home to Chechnya and Other Evolving Russian Republics” in the Wilson Quarterly (Spring 2009), “Wie das russische Dorf ganz langsam stirbt” [How the Russian Village Slowly Dies] in Die Zeit (March 2006), “The Cultural Dimension: Social Organization and the Metaphysics of Exchange” in editors David O’Brien, Steven Wegren, and Larry Dershem’s Rural Reform in Post-Soviet Russian (2002), and “The Festival of the Holy Trinity (Troitsa) in Rural Russia: A Case Study on the Symbolic Topography of Memory” in Anthropology of Eastern Europe Review (November 1998). Dr. Paxson is the recipient of many awards and grants, including an NCEEER Short-Term Research Travel Grant, several IREX awards, and awards from the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. She has taught at Concordia University and served as a guest lecturer in several capacities. Dr. Paxson has presented her work at academic conferences, invited lectures, and round tables in the United States, Canada, and Europe. She is fluent in Russian and French and also has language skills in Kabardian.

Fellowship Research

During her tenure at the Center, Dr. Paxson researched the rescue and resistance efforts in the small village of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon, France. Ruled by the Vichy government at the time, the villagers managed to rescue thousands of Jews, particularly children, over the course of four years. Dr. Paxson assessed the social repercussions of active resistance and how these events are memorialized by the participants and the community. She utilized the Museum's archival collections, including the Mme. Maurice Chazot collection, the Isaac and Masha Chomski papers, the Peter Feigl collection and papers, and the Enlizabeth Koenig papers and photograph collections. In addition, Dr. Paxson used oral histories and Selected Records of the Swedish Red Cross, as well as the Museum's collection of photographs, film, and artwork.

Dr. Paxson was in residence at the Mandel Center from July 1 to September 30, 2010.