Dr. Bodek Wins Fulbright Award

Congratulations to Dr. Bodek for winning the Fulbright Award! This wonderful achievement was featured in The School of Humanities and Social Sciences Feature Friday and The College Today. Excerpts quoted below:

As an undergrad, Dr. Bodek became fascinated by the question of how democracies die and what, if anything, people could do to preserve them. This became a red thread in his research. Another major influence was William Arrowsmith, one of the great classicists of his day. He showed his students how much the past and its poetry could mean to the contemporary world. In his own teaching, Dr. Bodek keeps one eye on contemporary issues and another on the big issues that transcend eras.

Dr. Bodek’s numerous publications include a translation of What Will Become of the Children?, a novel that appeared three months before the Nazis took power in Germany. They burned the book, and it faded into obscurity. “I’d like to think that translating and publishing it struck some kind of posthumous blow against the Third Reich,” he says.

With all that he’s achieved, Dr. Bodek is extremely proud of his former students’ accomplishments. For example, Catherine Stiers went on to grad school and is now a colleague working in College of Charleston Libraries. Many of Dr. Bodek’s favorite moments come from team teaching with terrific faculty like Joe Kelly and Scott Peeples. He reveled in running a 5K race with Jon Hale, Tammy Ingram, and Lisa Covert as a Department of History – College of Charleston team, although they didn’t win! “If anybody ever says that I have gravity,” he notes, “they probably mean that I run very slowly and the ground seems to pull me down into it.”

This Fulbright recipient also loves participating in a fantasy baseball league with great colleagues, former colleagues, and friends. Phil Jos, Joe Kelly, Ryan Milner, Dave Parisi, Scott Peeples, Chris Warnick, and Jacob Steere-Williams are all proud HSS faculty and retired faculty. In addition, Dr. Bodek plays the mandolin and is an amateur photographer. In the evenings, he and his partner walk their dogs and catch up on the day. Sounds like there’s always plenty to catch up on! — HSS Feature Friday

Bodek, a professor in the Department of History, will travel to London to teach at the University of Roehampton, where he will teach historical methods, historical problems and war and memory in the 20th century. He is looking forward to “seeing how historians at a university in a very different system teach courses and bringing some of these ideas back to CofC.”

While he’s there, he will also continue his research on Elisabeth Kusian, a homicidal nurse in occupied Berlin in the late 1940s. In 1949, Kusian robbed, murdered, dismembered and dumped her victims into Berlin’s rubble in order to acquire the resources to get a typewriter to give as a Christmas present to her married lover, a police detective.

Though very mild mannered himself, Bodek has a keen interest in violent crime history in the post-WWII period and was researching cases in Hamburg and Berlin when he ran across multiple files on Kusian. He now plans to write a book on the murder-podcast–worthy life of Kusian.

“She’s just so interesting – drug use, she’s a nurse, she cuts bodies up,” says Bodek. “And it’s right when Berlin has been divided and is still in ruins. It’s like history runs through her.”

Since its inception in 1946, the Fulbright Program has given over 400,000 passionate and accomplished students, scholars, teachers, artists and professionals of all backgrounds and fields the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to important international problems. Now the largest and most diverse international educational exchange program in the world, the Fulbright Program is funded primarily by an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. — The College Today

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