Center for Advanced Genocide Research Awards Inaugural Beth and Arthur Lev Student Research Fellowship to Virginia Bullington
Virginia Bullington, a sophomore at USC from Nantucket, Massachusetts majoring in American Studies and Narrative Studies, has been chosen as the first-ever Beth and Arthur Lev Student Research Fellow at the USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research.
The Beth and Arthur Lev Student Research Fellowship provides support for one USC undergraduate or graduate student from any discipline who will be conducting research focused on testimonies of the USC Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive (VHA) and/or other related USC resources and collections. It enables a student research fellow to spend a month in residence at the Center every summer and to deliver a public lecture about his or her research in the following academic year.
As the inaugural recipient of the fellowship, Virginia will be in residence at the Center for a month this summer in order to conduct research in the Visual History Archive, which she will present to the campus community in a public lecture during the 2018-2019 academic year.
During her time at the Center, Virginia will investigate how the cultural attitudes toward victims of sexual violence in post-genocide contexts impact whether or not targeted ethnic groups remain vulnerable after genocide. She is interested in researching how contemporary conceptions of gender, sexuality and sexual violence can serve to further oppress targeted groups even after genocide by controlling collective memory of the events. She plans to utilize survivor testimonies from the Armenian, Rwandan and Guatemalan collections in the VHA to examine the “persistent ways in which genocides can continue to shape a society decades after the official end of conflict.” In addition to the VHA testimonies, Virginia’s research project will engage with literature on genocide’s impact on the institution of the family, the links between violence against women and ethnic violence, and collective memory. Virginia anticipates that this comparative approach will provide insight into the universal nature of sexual violence as a tool of physical and psychological control in genocide, and hopes that her research will “contribute to the broader, current conversation regarding gender equality and violence that we as a university, as a country, and as a human race are having.”
At USC, Virginia is a member of the Thematic Option Honors Program and the Alpha Lambda Theta Honor Society, a recipient of the Presidential Scholarship, and on the Dean’s List. On campus, she is involved with the Trojan Scholar Society, the Environmental Student Assembly and KXSC Radio. She is currently studying abroad in Chile at the Pontifica Universidad de Chile, Universidad Diego Portales, and will return to USC to begin her residency at the Center near the end of July.