The Founders

AUP’s newest Center has been established thanks to the vision and generosity of AUP parents, George and Irina Schaeffer, who dreamed of bringing the Visual History Archive of USC Shoah Foundation to France, and providing faculty and students at AUP, as well as researchers the world over, an opportunity to work with these remarkable audio-visual materials. George Schaeffer was the founder, president and CEO of OPI, a world-renowned nail polish company. He and his wife Irina are devoted philanthropists who have, through their family foundation, supported universities, Jewish cultural organizations, music conservatories and hospitals, with special interests in medical research, humanitarian projects, and education. Dr. Stephen D. Smith is Executive Director of USC Shoah Foundation. 

The Community at AUP

Professor Brian Schiff

Director of the George and Irina Schaeffer Center for the Study of Genocide, Human Rights and Conflict Prevention 

Professor Schiff works with AUP faculty, students and the broader research community to provide cross-disciplinary scholarship on the contribution of the archives to the possibility of enduring peace and understanding. Read Brian's full bio here


Constance Pâris de Bollardière 

Assistant Director of the George and Irina Schaeffer Center for the Study of Genocide, Human Rights and Conflict Prevention 

As a historian, Constance contributes to the scientific agenda of the Center. She defended her Ph.D. in History at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in 2017. Her research, entitled “The Everlastingness of our People": An American Jewish Socialist Aid in the Yiddish Diaspora, the Jewish Labor Committee in Postwar France (1944-1948)", focuses on the transnational relation between Yiddish speaking Socialists -mainly Bundists and left wing Zionists- in America and France in the immediate aftermath of the Holocaust and deals with social work, displacement and migration of Holocaust survivors, Yiddish culture, identity reconstruction, Holocaust memory, French politics and labor movements during the early Cold War.

Her current research concerns are Holocaust memory in Yiddish and the use of testimonies in historical research on mass violence.

Constance Pâris de Bollardière supervises the viewing and the showcasing of the Visual History Archive at AUP and advises researchers, teachers, students and anyone interested in these video testimonies. Read Constance's full bio here.


Ariella Afzal 

Administrator and Communications Coordinator of the George and Irina Schaeffer Center for the Study of Genocide, Human Rights and Conflict Prevention 

Ariella also supervises the viewing of the Archives at AUP. She completed her MA in Global Communications at AUP in 2020 and has previously worked as a marketing specialist and a digital learning trainer in software and IT companies.


Scientific Committee

Waddick Doyle, AUP Faculty Fellow

Waddick Doyle is Associate Professor of Global Communications, American University (Paris) and the Director of the Civic Media Lab. Professor Doyle specializes in globalization, semiotics and media with reference to France and Italy. More recently he has worked on Islam and questions of religious coexistence the media in France and Morocco. He has taught at the Sorbonne, New York University, Northwestern University, Griffith University, the University of Bologna and is a member of several international academic organizations. Doyle comments frequently on France 24RFIRadio National AustraliaIl GloboPolitiken.

Lissa Lincoln, AUP Faculty Fellow

Lissa Lincoln is a scholar of Critical Theory, Gender Studies and French Literature whose interdisciplinary research explores normativity, exclusion and  violence within marginalized communities, with particular emphasis on gender and caste. She is deeply interested in questions linked to stigma, systemic violence, discrimination and historical silencing and in the ways literature and testimony emerge as forms of resistance against oppression. Co-founder and head of the Gender, Sexuality and Society program at AUP housed in the Department of Psychology, her work in feminist and post-colonial theory, Dalit literature and testimonio, 20th century continental philosophy and Law & Literature are all informed by a commitment to interrogating the intersecting politics of race, class, caste, gender and sexuality.

Miranda Spieler, AUP Faculty Fellow

Miranda Spieler is an historian of the French colonial empire whose work focuses on the relationship between law and violence. She is the author of Empire and Underworld (Harvard, 2012), which was awarded the George L. Mosse Prize and the J. Russell Major Prize from the American Historical Association in 2013. As Faculty Fellow, she is researching the prosecution of masters for atrocities in nineteenth-century French colonies with a focus on the problem of slave testimony. She is also completing a book project entitled Slaves in Paris: Scenes from an Imperial Capital, which examines the history of slaves in France during the long eighteenth century. 

She spent the academic year 2017-2018 as an external fellow at the Stanford Humanities Center working on her book, Slaves in Paris, which is under contract with Harvard University Press.