School of International Service
PhD American University, MEd Harvard University, BA University of Chicago
Dr. Ela Rossmiller researches memory politics, transitional justice, and nationalism. She recently completed a longitudinal study of Polish legislative debates from 1989 to 2016 surrounding commemorative resolutions for martial law as well as rehabilitation and compensation laws for victims of political repression and anti-communist activists during the Communist period. She shows that debates surrounding these transitional justice measures are an instantiation of memory politics and that they are as much about the present – and future – as they are about the past. Drawing on three years of archival research and using discourse analysis, she examines attempts to establish an official public memory of martial law that speaks to the nature of the former Communist regime, the transition, and the current democratic regime; the legitimacy / illegitimacy of the ruling elite; and the boundary conditions for victimhood as well as membership in the national community. Her research was funded by a fellowship from the Polish Ministry of Education. Her next project will analyze the rise of nationalism through the lens of memory politics. She is currently a research fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis in Washington, D.C.