LAWRENCE — The Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies (CREES) has announced that this year’s Roy D. and Betty Laird Essay Contest winner is history doctoral candidate Alana Holland, for her essay titled “Not Our Nation: Public Holocaust Commemoration in Poland.”
Holland will present her essay at noon Tuesday, May 2, in 318 Bailey Hall, as part of the CREES Brownbag Lecture series.
A committee of three REES faculty read and independently rated the anonymous submissions. According to Interim CREES Director Alexander Diener, Holland’s essay was an “exploration of contemporary issues related to the Polish government’s recognition and acknowledgment of the Holocaust. Ms. Holland’s insightful analysis drew linkages between foreign references to ‘Polish’ concentration camps, official Polish initiatives on ‘historical politics’ and the Black Lives Matter movement here in the U.S. In a particularly strong year for graduate entries for the Laird Essay Contest, her essay distinguished itself for its nuanced exploration of a very complicated issue.”
Holland will receive a $500 award and a book budget of $75. Her essay will be published on the CREES website.
Holland is a doctoral candidate in modern Russian and Eastern European history, with secondary fields in modern Europe, nation and empire, and Holocaust studies. She completed a master's degree in Russian, East European & Eurasian studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her dissertation is titled “War and Retribution: Early Postwar Responses to the Holocaust in the Polish-Soviet Borderlands, 1944-49.” Her project combines analyses of early postwar creative culture and testimony in local war crimes trials to understand how political elites and ordinary citizens confronted the loss of Jewish communities in the Polish-Soviet borderlands.
Now in its 23rd year, the contest is named after the late DRoy Laird, a longtime member of the Russian & East European studies (REES) and political science faculties, and Betty Laird, whose support makes this prize possible.