Graduate Students at UCLA

The following is a list of UCLA graduate students conducting research on or directly related to Israel.

Yael Assor
Advisors: C. Jason Throop (chair, UCLA), Sherry B. Ortner (UCLA), Akhil Gupta (UCLA), Jarrett Zigon (UVA)

Assor’s research focuses on the ongoing process of shaping Israel’s healthcare policies. Her dissertation will explore how public expectations of policymakers’ ethical conduct shape healthcare decisions in Israel’s nationalized healthcare system. Prior to pursuing her doctorate, Assor completed a BA in Psychology, Sociology, and Anthropology and an MA in Sociology and Anthropology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Arnon Degani
Advisor: David Myers

Degani’s research focuses on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as well as Palestinian nationalism, Zionism, and how the two constituted one another. Degani’s dissertation examines the daily life of Palestinian-Arabs in Israel from 1948-1967; the interactions between this community and Israeli state organs; and the integration of the Palestinian-Arab citizens of Israel into the Israeli body politic. He earned a BA from Ben-Gurion University in Middle East Studies and MA from Tel Aviv University in Middle East History.

Sarah Johnson
Advisor: David Myers

Johnson’s research focuses on modern German-Jewish history, particularly that of the German Zionist movement both in Germany and in Palestine during the interwar period. The main emphasis of her research is on the history of German Zionist institutions, processes of community building, and migration. Prior to attending UCLA, Johnson received an MA in Modern History from the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn and a BA in History and German Studies from the University of Minnesota.

Melissa Melpignano
World Arts and Cultures/Dance
Advisor: Susan Foster

Melpignano‘s research investigates how different Israeli contemporary choreographers and choreographic bodies addresses social and political issues through performance, with a particular focus on the post-Oslo period (1995-present). Her work explores ideas of nationalism, Zionism, and militarism in contemporary performance, and choreography as an expression of the politics of livability in Israel. She received an MA in Italian Studies from the University of Lugano (Switzerland), a BA (magna cum laude), in Performance Studies from the University of Venice Ca' Foscari (Italy), and a BA(Hons) in Contemporary Dance from the University of Kent/London Contemporary Dance School (UK).

Molly Oringer
Advisor: Susan Slyomovics

Oringer’s work broadly concerns the anthropology of statehood, citizenship, and constructions of belonging. Her dissertation research focuses on the cultural, social, and historic realities of the Jewish community in Lebanon and its diaspora (including those in Israel), as well as the relation between these communities and the Lebanese state. Oringer received her MA from NYU in Near Eastern Studies and a BA in Religion from Smith College.