Alumni Fellows

The 2023 IRIS Graduate Student Summer Fieldwork and the BLAC Foundation Awardees Profiles

2023 IRIS Graduate Student Summer Fieldwork Awardee

John Bennett is pursuing doctoral work in the Department of Communication Arts on the Algerian
film industry. In researching the historical components of the Algerian film industry's international

2023 BLAC Foundation Winner

Harry Kiiru is a PhD candidate in the Department of African Cultural Studies with a minor in African American Studies. His dissertation titled “The Culturally and Racially Body in Motion: How Sub-Saharan African Immigrants Become Black in the United


Yue Qin is a first-year PhD student in Sociology at UW-Madison.

Her research focuses on how rising precarious work affects aging workers’ sense of self-worth, social relationships, and attitudes toward social inequality in China. With IRIS funding, she will conduct fieldwork in northern China, collecting data through semi-structured interviews and participant observation. This project will promote a better understanding of the social and psychological consequences of economic transition and rising precariousness in modern China.

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3rd Year Ph.D. student

UW Madison History Department
I received FLAS to learn Polish in the summer of 2022 and for the academic year of 2022-2023. This year I have completed my training in Polish grammar and have become much more comfortable reading Polish texts. I have benefited tremendously from this instruction as I can now incorporate Polish academic works into my research into the Teutonic Knights and their emotions during the Baltic Crusades.
I have also used the opportunity provided by FLAS to explore how modern ideas about the Teutonic Knights shaped Weimar Germany’s relationship with Eastern Europe, especially Poland. My research into the medievalism of the Young German Order, a paramilitary organization that attempted to merge conservative and liberal strands of German political thought, has revealed that various myths regarding the Teutonic Order and their conquests in the Baltic were pervasive in Weimar’s political culture, even amongst organizations that explicitly opposed National Socialism. FLAS has provided me with the necessary tools to understand the medieval Baltic and the possibility of seeing how that history has been utilized for political ends in the modern day.