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Dr. Mia Spiro
2009-2010 Charles H. Revson Foundation Fellow

"Spectacular Nazism: Strategies of Resistance in 1930s Anglo-American Fiction"

Professional Background

Mia Spiro is a recent Ph.D. recipient in English literature from York University in Toronto. She received an M.A. in English literature and a Graduate Diploma in Jewish Studies and Advanced Hebrew at York University. For her Charles H. Revson Foundation Fellowship, Dr. Spiro conducted research for her project, “Spectacular Nazism: Strategies of Resistance in 1930s Anglo-American Fiction.”

Dr. Spiro is the winner of several awards, including of the York University President Susan Mann Dissertation Scholarship, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Doctoral Award and an Ontario Graduate Scholarship. She also received a Henry and Barbara Bank Fellowship and the Fleischer Award for Jewish Studies at York University for her work on Jewish literature. Dr. Spiro is the author of “Between Public and Private Acts: Woolf’s Anti-Fascist Strategies” in Woolf and the City, edited by Elizabeth Evans and Sarah Cornish (forthcoming) and has presented work on the representation of Jews and Nazism in Anglo-American fiction at a number of international conferences.

Fellowship Research

During her tenure at the Center, Dr. Spiro studied theoretical, ethical, and aesthetic approaches to literary resistance of Nazism in the 1930s. Focusing on three key interwar novels – Djuna Barnes’s experimental novel Nightwood (1937), Christopher Isherwood’s semi-autobiographical Goodbye to Berlin (1939), and Virginia Woolf’s Between the Acts (1941) – her project investigated how these novels document the perilous nature of fascist ideology and present the conditions of racial and sexual marginalization that were already endemic to modern Europe. Specifically, it draws upon connections between Nazism and the notion of the “spectacle” by highlighting the homogenizing effects of the spectacle and contrasting it with aesthetic experimentation and representations of “Other” bodies that fascism resists – the Modern Woman, the homosexual, and the Jew. Using the Museum’s collections of published sources, archival records on Germany in the 1930s, propaganda films in the Museum’s Steve Spielberg Film and Video Archive, and collections of advertisements, Dr. Spiro revised, expanded, and prepared her doctoral dissertation for publication.

Dr. Spiro was in residence at the Mandel Center from January 4 to April 30, 2010.