Jennifer Putnam

PhD student in History
Birbeck, 2020 to 2023

Jennifer is a PhD student in History at Birkbeck College, University of London. Her research
focuses on contemporary graffiti in sites of the Holocaust. She is interested in individual acts of
resistance against the Nazi regime, how prisoners and guards interacted with the built
environment around them, and unconventional forms of communication. She will document and
catalogue the graffiti herself, creating a template that can be used at other sites of imprisonment
and genocide.

Jennifer received an MA in Modern History and Politics from Birkbeck College as the Eric
Hobsbawm scholar for the 2019–2020 class. Her dissertation focused on the mail system in
Auschwitz, comparing the official rules against the lived experiences of prisoners. She also has
an MPhil in Linguistics from Trinity College Dublin, writing a dissertation entitled “Critical
Discourse Analysis & Graffiti: A Case Study of Prisoner Number Graffiti in Auschwitz I”. Her
BA is in Literature and Languages from Loyola University Chicago.

Her wider research interests include modern graffiti, comparative genocide research, philately, Jewish history, Cuban history,
and resistance movements. Jennifer speaks four languages – Polish, French, Spanish, and English
– and is learning two more – Yiddish and German.