FIMS Profile

Dr. Amanda F. Grzyb
Associate Professor

FIMS & Nursing Building Room 4053
Phone: 519-661-2111 x88012

University of Western Ontario
London, Ontario, Canada N6A 5B7
Fax: 519-661-3506
agrzyb@uwo.ca
  • About Me

  • Teaching

  • Research Projects

  • Publications

  • Service

Amanda Grzyb's primary teaching and research interests include state violence, Holocaust and genocide studies, media and the public interest, social movements, memorials and commemoration processes, homelessness, and social justice. Her publications and community-based research projects focus on El Salvador, Rwanda, Nazi-occupied Europe, the United States, and Sudan. Since receiving tenure at Western in 2013, Dr. Grzyb has increasingly oriented her work toward collaborative projects with survivors of state violence, participatory and decolonial methodologies, and community partnerships that combine scholarly research with public and accessible knowledge sharing outcomes (such as exhibitions, community reports, human rights investigations, popular books, workshops, and public presentations). She is currently serving as the project director for Surviving Memory in Postwar El Salvador, a SSHRC-funded international research partnership committed to documenting the history of the Salvadoran Civil War (1980-1992) and preventing future violence. The Surviving Memory team was recently awarded a $2.5M Partnership Grant from SSHRC (2021-2028), which will be combined with $3.1M in additional contributions from the project partners. She also works with ACAFREMIN  (The Central American Alliance Against Mining) and CRIPDES (The Association for the Development of El Salvador) to investigate human rights abuses against environmental defenders, document state violence, and support the safety and autonomy of communities that resist extractive projects and destructive industrial farming practices in their territories. Dr. Grzyb is an affiliate faculty member at Western's Centre for Transitional Justice and Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Western's Department of Women's Studies and Feminist Research, and Western's Africa Institute. She completed her Ph.D. in English at Duke University in 2007, where her scholarly training focused on American and African-American Literature, Theory and Criticism, and Holocaust Studies. She wrote her dissertation on literary and cultural representations of American homelessness under the supervision of Professor Houston A. Baker, Jr. She has an M.A. in English from Duke University, an M.A. in Theory and Criticism from Western University, and a B.A. in Combined Honours English and Philosophy from Western University.

TEACHING AND GRADUATE SUPERVISION:

Dr. Grzyb has received multiple teaching awards throughout her career, including Western's Marilyn Robinson Award for Excellence in Teaching (2012), the FIMS Award for Teaching Excellence (2012), the FIMS Award for Teaching Excellence by Part-Time Instructor (2006); Duke University's Stephen Horne Graduate Instructor Teaching Award (1999); and Western University's Teaching Assistant Excellence Award (1995-1996). She has taught 5 field courses in Poland focused on the Holocaust, 2 field courses in Rwanda focused on the 1994 Rwandan genocide; and 4 field courses in El Salvador focused on environmental social movements. The latter involves a week-long field research component in El Salvador during Western's February Reading Week, which includes meetings with environmental leaders, communities, and educators across the country.  The course is taught in collaboration with Pedro Cabezas (ACAFREMIN) and our partners at CRIPDES - the Association for the Development of El Salvador. The course is expected to resume after the pandemic in Winter 2023.

COURSES 2021-2022:
MIT 3901F: Activism and the Mainstream Media (fall)
MS 9101: Introduction to Research Methods (fall) 
MIT 3031G: Media, Genocide, and State Violence (winter)

Dr. Grzyb is currently supervising the following graduate students:
- Giada Ferrucci, Ph.D. Candidate in Media Studies (2018 - present)
- Sananda Sahoo, Ph.D. Candidate in Media Studies (2018 - present)
- Talia Mendez, Ph.D. Student in Media Studies ( 2021 - present)
- Deeplina Bannerjee, Ph.D. Candidate in Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies (2019 - present)
- Arpana Awwal, Ph.D. Student in Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies ( 2021 - present)

SURVIVING MEMORY IN POSTWAR EL SALVADOR:

Dr. Grzyb is the project director for Surviving Memory in Postwar El Salvadora SSHRC-funded international partnership of survivors, scholars, lawyers, artists, museums, architects, engineers, archivists, community organizers, municipal governments, civil society organizations, and mental health professionals who are committed to documenting the history of the Salvadoran Civil War (1980-1992) and preventing future violence. The team was recently awarded a SSHRC Partnership Grant, which will provide $2.5M in additional funding to expand the scale and scope of our collaborative projects in El Salvador and the Salvadoran Canadian diaspora. Western University and our other partners are providing an additional $3.1M in cash and in-kind contributions, for a total of $5.6M In research funding over the next seven years (2021-2028). 

Using decolonial and participatory methodologies, the team's goal is to engage in high-impact, community-driven research projects, oral histories, and accessible knowledge sharing activities that approach historical memory work holistically through the intersections of justice; art, music, and theatre; intergenerational education; documentation and testimonies; mental health and healing; environmental reparation; and local economic reconstruction. Our contributing members include nationals of El Salvador, Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Bolivia, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Ecuador, England, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Mexico, Poland, Venezuela, and the United States. For the team, recovering wartime narratives means working in solidarity with Salvadorans, reconstructing history from the bottom up, supporting intergenerational education, and using participatory methodologies. All of Surviving Memory in Postwar El Salvador's projects are developed collaboratively to meet the needs of Salvadoran communities and seek justice and dignity for the survivors.

This research is supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and includes partnerships with Asociación Sumpul, Comité de Memoria Historica Sobreviviente de Arcatao, Tutela Legal Dra. Maria Julia Hernández, CRIPDES (The Association for the Development of El Salvador), PRO-VIDA, CCR, FutureWatch, ASISAM, Centro Arte para la Paz, Museo de la Palabra y la Imagen, SalvAide,  ASALCA - The Salvadoran Canadian Association, Mindfulness Without Borders, KU Leuven, Aarhus University, Carleton University, The University of El Salvador, The Central American University (UCA), AgwA architects (Belgium), and the municipalities of San José Las Flores, Nueva Trinidad, Arcatao, Las Vueltas, and Suchitoto in El Salvador. Individual collaborators include: Dr. Harold Fallon (KU Leuven), Dr. Vladimir Pacheco (Aarhus University), Dr. Beatriz Juárez (Carleton University), Evelia Macal; Thomas Montulet, Roberto Urbina, Alejandro Diaz Gomez (Tutela Legal), Ovidio Mauricio González (Tutela Legal), Dr. Arlene MacDougall (Western), Dr. Emily Ansari (Western), Dr. Felipe Quintanilla (Western), Felipe Tobar (Asociación Sumpul), Cecilia Pocasangre (ACISAM), Rubia Guardado (CCR), Julio Rivera (Asociación Sumpul), Miriam Ayala (Asociación Sumpul), Sister Peggy O'Neill (Centro Arte para la Paz), Carlos "Santiago" Henríquez (Museo de la Palabra y la Imagen), Dr. Deanna Befus (Western), Dr. Susana Caxaj (Western), Dr. Ulises Unda Lara (University of Central Ecuador), Dr. Theresa Denger (UCA), Eduardo Macal (Caritas), Dr. Adriana Alas, Eusebio Garcia (ASALCA), Dr. José Garcia (Ryerson University), Prof. Ismael Sanchez (UCA), Juan Carlos Jimenez (University of Toronto), Prof. Lourdes Calero (UES); Prof. Fernando Chacón (UCA); Reynaldo Hernández, Pedro Cabezas (ACAFREMIN), Dorothee Molders, Norma Rivera, Juan Bello (Triana Media), Dr. Katrina Fenicky (Western), Ronit Jinich (Mindfulness Without Borders), Dr. David Heap (Western), Dr. Marjorie Ratcliffe (Western), Dr. Bernie Hammond (King's College),  Alfredo Marroquín (SalvAide), and Grzegorz Kwiatkowski (Trupa Trupa). 

From 2018-2021, the Surviving Memory in Postwar El Salvador team held a Partnership Development Grant ($196K) and completed the following projects: 1. the architectural designs for the Las Aradas Memorial Park at the site of the 1980 Sumpul Massacre, produced in collaboration with the community of survivors and led by Asociación Sumpul and Belgian, Dutch, and Salvadoran architects, Dr. Harold Fallon, Evelia Macal, Roberto Urbina, and Thomas Montulet; 2. the development (in progress) of an online interactive map of 60+ community-identified wartime massacres across the department of Chalatenango, led by Asociación Sumpul, Dr. Grzyb, and an interdisciplinary research team from Western University; 3. a national commemoration event in Chalatenango for the 40th anniversary of the Sumpul Massacre in May 2020 (broadcast on radio due to the pandemic).

Surviving Memory in Postwar El Salvador's other SSHRC-funded projects include: collaborative research on civil war music and the development of a music archive, led by Dr. Emily Ansari (Music History, Western University); a short documentary film, Norberto Amaya [Songwriter], made in collaboration with filmmaker Juan Bello (Triana Media), Dr. Grzyb, Dr. Ansari, and Norberto Amaya; the ongoing development of community-based mental health interventions for civil war survivors, led by Dr. Arlene MacDougall (Schulich School of Medicine, Western University), Dr. Katrina Fenicky (Psychiatry Resident, London Health Sciences Centre), and Ronit Jinich (Lead Facilitator, Mindfulness Without Borders); the “Memorias Submergida/Submerged Memories” oral history project, led by Dr. Felipe Quetzalcoatl Quintanilla (Hispanic Studies, Western University) and the Association of TereseĊ„os, which focuses on memories of the history of the community of Santa Teresa de Potonico that was destroyed by a dam project in Chalatenango in the 1970s; and photo exhibitions and refugee memory conversatorios/workshops in repopulated communities of El Salvador, including Las Vueltas (2019), Sitio Cenícero (2018), and Copapayo (2018).

Prior to the formal establishment of the Surviving Memory in Postwar El Salvador partnership, Dr. Grzyb and a team of researchers from Western worked in collaboration with the Municipality of Suchitoto, Dr. Molly Todd (Montana State University), Angelita Velasquez, Reynaldo Hernández, Alfredo Marroquín (Executive Director of SalvAide), Dr. Emily Ansari (Western University) and the late Dr. Meyer Brownstone (former Director of Oxfam Canada) to organize a pilot photo exhibition and refugee memory workshops in the community of Milingo in January 2017. Inspired by Dr. Brownstone's photos of the Salvadoran refugee camps in Honduras in the 1980s, the pilot project was funded by a SSHRC Insight Development Grant (2016-2018), Montana State University, and Western University. The idea for the pilot project was jointly developed by Dr. Grzyb, Rosa Rivera Rivera (Arcatao’s Historical Memory Committee), and Dr. Todd in Arcatao, El Salvador in November 2015. A community photobook, Memoria Viva: : Fotografias y Testimonios Sobre la Vida en La Virtud y Mesa Grande, 1980-1992 / Photographs and Testimonies About Life in La Virtud and Mesa Grande, 1980-1992 (San Salvador: Museo de la Palabra y la Imagen, 2021), is a major outcome of this pilot project.

For more information, visit our website. Selected media coverage of Surviving Memory in Postwar El Salvador's activities:

BY CHANCE ALONE:

From 2012 to 2015, Dr. Grzyb worked closely with Holocaust survivor, Max Eisen to support the completion of his Holocaust memoir, By Chance Alone (HarperCollins 2016). The memoir was one of five finalists for the 2017 Taylor Award for non-fiction and was the winner of the CBC Canada Reads competition in 2019. In addition to editing all of the draft chapters, Dr. Grzyb also wrote the historical Afterword.

GUAPINOL RESISTE -  A REPORT ON HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN HONDURAS:

In June 2019, Dr. Grzyb joined a human rights investigation team in Honduras to investigate reports of state violence and repression of environmental defenders and community leaders in the municipality of Tocoa. The team included Pedro Cabezas (ACAFREMIN), Bernie Hammond (King's College), Ainhoa Montoya (University of London), Michael Berghoeff (Ferris State University), and Dimitri Lascaris (journalist/lawyer). The team's final report and recommendations is available in Spanish and English. 

 

SELECTED PUBLICATIONS :

  • Alison Hearn, James Compton, Nick Dyer-Witheford, and Amanda Grzyb, eds. Organizing Equality: Dispatches from a Global Struggle. Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press, forthcoming 2022.
  •  Amanda Grzyb, Jaime Brenes Reyes, Angela Velasco, et al, eds. Memorial Viva: Photographs and Testimonies about Life in La Virtud and Mesa Grande Refugee Camps, 1980-1992. San Salvador: MUPI, 2021.
  • Bernard Hammond, Michael Berghoef, Giada Ferrucci, Amanda Grzyb, Dimitri Lascaris, and Ainhoa Montoya. Guapinol Resiste: Origins of the Conflict in the Lower Aguan Valley. San Salvador: ACAFREMIN, 2020. 
  • Fallon, Harold, Amanda Grzyb, and Thomas Montulet. "Guinda," Vesper No. 3 (Wilderness), Fall-Winter 2020.  
  • Grzyb, Amanda. “The Changing Landscape of Holocaust Memorials in Poland.” Simone Gigliotti and Hillary Earl, eds. Wiley-Blackwell Companion to the Holocaust. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell,  2019.
  • Grzyb, Amanda. “Unsettled Memory: Genocide Memorial Sites in Rwanda.” Brown Journal of World Affairs, July 2019.
  • Grzyb, Amanda, Beatriz Juarez, and Asociación Sumpul. Plan Estratégico 2018-2021: Asociación de Sobrevivientes de las Masacre del Sumpul y Otras Masacres de Chalatenango / Strategic Plan, 2018-2021: Association of Survivors of the Sumpul Massacre and Other Chalatenango Massacres: www.asociacionsumpul.org, October 2018.
  • Grzyb, Amanda and Amy Freier. “Hate Propaganda and International Intervention: the US Refusal to Disrupt RTLM Broadcasts During the 1994 Genocide of Tutsi in Rwanda.” Henry Theriault and Elisa von Joeden-Forgey, eds. Controversies in the Field of Genocide Studies, Transaction Publishers, 2017.
  • Totten, Samuel and Amanda Grzyb, eds. Conflict in the Nuba Mountains: From Genocide by Attrition to the Contemporary Crisis in Sudan. Routledge, 2015.
  • Grzyb, Amanda. "Curating Action: Comparative Genocide Exhibits and the 'Call to Action' at the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre, the United States Holocaust Museum, and the Museo Memoria y Tolerancia." Karen Busby, Adam Muller, and Andrew Woolford, eds. The Idea of a Human Rights Museum. Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 2015.
  • Grzyb, Amanda and Didier Odie Muvunyi. “Twenty Years Later: Official Memory and Local Grief at Genocide Memorial Sites in Rwanda. The Forum: Quarterly Publication for the Association of Death Education and Counseling. April 2014.
  • Grzyb, Amanda. “The Plight and Fate of Children During and Following the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda,” Samuel Totten, ed. The Fate of Children: Genocide. Transaction Publishers, 2014.
  • Grzyb, Amanda. “Information Mobility, Human Rights Activism, and International Intervention in Darfur.” Suzan Ilcan, Ed. Mobilities, Knowledge, and Social Justice. S. Ilcan, ed. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2013.
  • Grzyb, Amanda: “From Kristallnacht to the S.S. St. Louis Tragedy: Canadian Press Coverage of Nazi Persecution of the Jews and the Jewish Refugee Crisis, September 1938 to August 1939,” Ruth Klein, ed. Nazi Germany, Canadian Responses, Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2012.
  • Grzyb, Amanda. “Homeless Impersonations: the Urban Plunge and North-American Poverty Tourism,” Expositions, April 2011.
  • Grzyb, Amanda. “Media Coverage, Activism, and Creating Public Will for Intervention in Rwanda and Darfur.” The World and Darfur: International Response to Crimes Against Humanity in Western Sudan. A. Grzyb, ed. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2009.
  • Smeltzer, Sandra and Amanda Grzyb. “Critical Media Pedagogy in the Public Interest,” Democratic Communiqué, 23:2 (Fall 2009).
  • Grzyb, Amanda, ed. The World and Darfur: International Response to Crimes Against Humanity in Western Sudan. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, April 2009. Second edition published March 2009.

COMMENTARY:

  • Grzyb, Amanda. “El debate sobre la responsabilidad de los medios en el genocidio de Ruanda,” The Conversation España, April 2019: https://theconversation.com/el-debate-sobre-la-responsabilidad-de-los-medios-en-el-genocidio-de-ruanda-sigue-abierto-114996
  • Grzyb, Amanda. “Debate continues about the media’s role in driving Rwanda’s genocide,” The Conversation Africa, April 1, 2019: https://theconversation.com/debate-continues-about-the-medias-role-in-driving-rwandas-genocide-114512
  • Caplan, Gerald, Samuel Totten, and Amanda Grzyb. “Genocide: America Says ‘Never Again’ But Keeps Turns a Blind Eye.” Globe and Mail Commentary, April 25, 2013.
  • Caplan, Gerald and Amanda Grzyb. “The Tragic Cost of the World’s Inaction in Sudan.” Globe and Mail Commentary, September 5, 2012.
  • Caplan, Gerald and Amanda Grzyb. “This is What Democracy Looks Like: Occupying Wall Street and Bay Street,” Globe and Mail Commentary, October 12, 2011.
  • Grzyb, Amanda and Gerald Caplan. “Is There Enough Political Will to Stop Sudan Atrocities?” Globe and Mail Commentary, August 2, 2011.

 

SERVICE:

Dr. Grzyb maintains a strong record of service and she is committed to the active preservation of collegial university governance at Western University. She served for many years as an elected Senator in Western University's Senate, where she frequently engaged in debates on the senate floor. She is a long-serving member of the University of Western Ontario Faculty Association (UWOFA), where she has served as an elected Board Member, Communications Officer, and FIMS Rep/Steward. She is currently one of UWOFA's directors on the CAUT Defence Fund. She has also served as the inaugural Chair of Western's Academics Without Borders Committee, and she is a long-serving member (and past Chair) of Western's Rhodes Scholarship Review Committee. She has served on Promotion and Tenure Committees at FIMS, the Faculty of Law, and the Department of Visual Arts. She has also served on the Advisory Board of the Africa Institute, as well as many other university-level and faculty-level program committees and ad hoc committees.

Dr. Grzyb's service also extends to the general community. From 1997 to 2001, she was director of a summer program for children living in New York City homeless shelters, an experience that continues to impact her understanding of inequality, racism, and structural violence. She has served on the board of directors at Unity Project for Relief of Homelessness in London since 2005, and held the position of board chair from 2012-2016 and 2021-present and board co-chair from 2019-2020. She served as an international federal election observer in El Salvador in 2014 and as an international observer at two municipal popular consultations on metallic mining in El Salvador: Arcatao (November 2015) and Cinquera (February 2017). In June 2019, she joined a  human rights investigation team (including Dr. Ainhoa Montoya, Dr. Michael Berghoeff, Dr. Bernie Hammond, Dimitri Lascaris, and Pedro Cabezas) in Honduras to investigate government repression and human rights abuses against farmers and environmental activists in the Tocoa municipality. She served on the advisory board of Canada's National Task Force for Holocaust Education, Remembrance, and Research (2009-2012).