Dissertation Fellows

The Nanovic Institute currently awards fellowships to support graduate students writing dissertations on topics within European studies. The Paul G. Tobin Dissertation Fellowship and the Dominica and Frank Annese Fellowship in Graduate Studies fund graduate students over the course of an academic year as they conduct research and write their dissertations. These awards allow students to devote full attention to their project for an entire academic year. 

Mette Evelyn Bjerre

Mette Evelyn Bjerre

2020-21 Dissertation Fellow

Department of Sociology, University of Notre Dame

Eve is a Ph.D. Candidate in Sociology at the University of Notre Dame. Eve’s research focuses on racialisation processes and multiracial identities in Denmark. Historically, Nordic Europe has been overwhelmingly white but undergone significant demographic changes due to immigration from the European Union (EU), non-European countries, and increasing intermarriage rates during the last four decades. In response to increasing diversity, Denmark now has the most punitive immigration laws in the EU and a decidedly anti-immigration socio-political climate and public discourse. Despite the increase in racial diversity, race is notably absent from the public discourse. In place of a racial vocabulary, politicians and scholars substitute talking about race with ‘colour-blind’ and ‘race- neutral’ language, which result in a public discourse where the corporeality or race goes unrecognised. Taking these factors into account, Eve investigates how an increasing population of Ethnic-Danes with one immigrant parent come to embody a racial identity by way of navigating their mixed identity in a socio-political context where race is not a recognised social category.

Jake Coen

Jake Coen

2020-21 DISSERTATION FELLOW

Medieval Institute, University of Notre Dame

Jake Coen studies violence and political rhetoric. His dissertation research focuses primarily on the concept of tyranny in ninth- and tenth-century France and Germany, though he is also interested in working with vernacular literary and legal traditions across Europe. He is currently co-piloting his first course as instructor of record, which explores the relationship between medievalism, transmedia storytelling, and the film industry through the lens of the Harry Potter movie series. Originally from the East Coast, Jake did his undergraduate studies in history and French at Providence College and is passionate about teaching, cooking, exploring new languages and places, and spending time outdoors. Above all, Jake hopes that his time as a Nanovic Graduate Fellow will inspire more fruitful dialogue between students of various disciplinary backgrounds in the name of better understanding contemporary problems in European life.

Andrea C. Peña-Vasquez

Andrea C. Peña-Vasquez

2020-21 Dissertation Fellow

Department of Political Science, University of Notre Dame

Andrea Peña-Vasquez is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Political Science, with a focus on comparative politics, and a Dominica and Frank Annese Dissertation Fellow at the Nanovic Institute for European Studies. She is also affiliated with the Kellogg Institute for International Studies at the University of Notre Dame. Her research interests include transnational migration from Sub-Saharan Africa to Western Europe and the experiences of immigrants with the bureaucratic state. In her dissertation research, she studies how housing policy and the municipal registry system affect the political integration of African immigrants across Spain. Andrea is also a Notre Dame Presidential Fellow and her research has been funded by the J. William Fulbright Foundation, the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, and the John J. Reilly Center. Her work has been published in Surveyjournalen and Politics, Groups, and Identities (PGI).