In spring term 2022, the Whitney Humanities Center will welcome two Franke Visiting Fellows: James McAuley and Alejandra Oliva.
James McAuley is a Paris-based contributing columnist for The Washington Post writing on European affairs. During his Franke Fellowship at the Whitney, he will continue research on his next book, Black Milk of Dawn (whose title comes from a haunting poem by Celan).
Black Milk of Dawn is a narrative history of the construction and evolution of Holocaust memory across countries and generations. This vast project involves following the decades-long battle over Holocaust remembrance, tracing the major figures in that fight—some legendary, others still relatively unknown—from the height of the Second World War through our present moment, when Holocaust revisionism and denial have continued to rise in spite of increased public awareness. In telling this story, his aim will also be to investigate larger questions about how best to remember and memorialize the most violent atrocities from our past (and our present).
Yale itself plays a critical role in this saga, and Jake looks forward to working in the Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, whose story will be a crucial part of the book.
While at Yale, Jake will also be finishing a short biography of the Zionist benefactor Edmond de Rothschild, for the “Jewish Lives” biography series at Yale University Press. This follows the publication in 2021 of his first book, The House of Fragile Things: Jewish Art Collectors and the Fall of France, also with Yale University Press. He earned his PhD in Modern European History at Oxford in 2016, where he studied as a Marshall Scholar.
Alejandra Oliva is an essayist, embroiderer, and translator working in immigration advocacy. Her writing has been included in Best American Travel Writing 2020, nominated for a Pushcart prize, and helped her secure an Aspen Summer Words Emerging Writers Fellowship. She is the translator for a bilingual edition of A Is for Asylum Seeker by Rachel Ida Buff (2020, Fordham University Press).
Her nonfiction chapbook, Declaration, was published by Guillotine Books (2016). She holds a Master of Theological Studies degree from Harvard Divinity School and works as a communications coordinator at the National Immigrant Justice Center. She lives in Chicago with her husband and their dog. You can see her latest work at olivalejandra.com
During her Franke Visiting Fellowship, Oliva plans to complete her upcoming book project on translation at the U.S.-Mexico border.