Institute News

Bieke Van Camp Awarded 2018-2019 Katz Research Fellowship

Bieke Van Camp, a PhD candidate in Contemporary History at University Paul-Valéry, Montpellier (France), has been awarded the 2018-2019 Robert J. Katz Research Fellowship at the USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research. Van Camp will be in residence at the Center in April 2019 in order to conduct research in the Visual History Archive to contribute to her doctoral dissertation, “The Shoah as a Social Experience and the Deportees as Social Groups. Socio-historical Comparative Approach to Italian and Dutch-Speaking Deportees.”

During her time at the Center, Van Camp will consult 96 VHA testimonies from Italy and the Netherlands. She plans to use a socio-historical approach that utilizes factor analysis and social network analysis to understand what she calls “the enigma of survival” – why some deportees survived concentration camp society while others did not. According to Van Camp, it is crucial to consider how individuals and groups responded to the different types of violence (physical, emotional, symbolic) in camps, as well as which survival strategies they employed. She hypothesizes that “every individual behaves differently in the camps according to his own ‘entrance baggage’,” which includes factors such as an individual’s age, sociopolitical and cultural background, etc. Her linguistic proficiency in French, Italian and Dutch will enable Van Camp to consider a wide range of testimonies.

Van Camp earned her BA in Italian Studies from the University Paul-Valéry, Montpellier and Master’s Research Degrees in Military History, Italian Studies and History from the same university. She is currently a third-year PhD student in Contemporary History. Her research focuses on the socio-history of societies in war, the experience of Western European Jews in Nazi concentration and extermination camps, and the use of testimony and digital technologies in the social sciences. Van Camp has extensive research and teaching experience and has also served as the 2016-2017 European Holocaust Research Infrastructure Fellow, as the PhD representative of the board of the research center CRISES: Experimental Research in Humanities and Social Sciences, and as a member of the research project CORAL: Corpus in the Digital Age.

The Robert J. Katz Research Fellowship in Genocide Studies is awarded annually to an outstanding advanced- standing Ph.D. candidate from any discipline for dissertation research focused on testimony from the USC Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive and other USC resources. The fellowship enables the recipient to spend one month in residence at the USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research during the academic year and to deliver a public lecture about his or her research.