Brackney received her Master’s in Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School. She completed fellowships at Yale’s MacMillan Center and U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. D.C. and she also received research grants from the Max Kade Foundation and Baden-Wurttemberg Exchange Program at Heidelberg University in Germany.
During her residency at the USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research, Brackney explored the Visual History Archive looking for “otherworldliness” in the testimonies. Survivors of the Holocaust often use a language of “otherworldliness” to describe their war- time experiences, the European communities they left behind, and the spaces where they imagine their loved ones might live on. Brackney’s dissertation, “Otherworldly Horizons: An Alternative History of Holocaust Consciousness,” examines how the dimensions of these “other worlds” have shifted in the work of artists, writers and critics who have reflected on the Holocaust during the post-war period in Western Europe, North America, and Israel. Brackney concluded that the testimonies themselves assist survivors in negotiating their feelings of alienation.