Ariel is a fifth-year doctoral candidate specializing in modern European history and global/comparative history. Her dissertation is a history of political imprisonment in post-WWII France. It explores how changes to the category of “political prisoner” during postwar penal reform, the Algerian War of Independence, and prisoner activism in the 1960s and 1970s articulated new visions of prisoner rights as human rights. Her work consider how different historical actors—state penal reformers, political activists, and prisoners themselves—understood the politics of imprisonment through the frameworks of postwar democracy, decolonization, and international human rights. Her study of political imprisonment in France from 1945 to the 1970s, then, is also a broader study of how state power, political action, and conceptions of human rights changed in crucial ways in the second half of the twentieth century.
Ariel’s dissertation research is supported by the Social Science Research Council’s International Dissertation Research Fellowship (2020-21). Her paper, “Blind Spots of the Panopticon: Women, Anticolonial Activism, and Prison Escape from La Roquette during the Algerian War,” received the Western Society for French History’s Edward T. Gargan Prize (2020). Ariel received her MA in French Studies from New York University in 2017 and her BA in History and French Studies from American University in Washington, DC in 2015.