Aliza Luft

Photo for Mobilizing IdeasAliza Luft is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison working on issues related to state violence, political violence, and persecution. Primarily, this research concerns behavioral variation during genocides: how the same individual shifts stances from killing to resistance and rescuing behaviors (and vice versa) throughout a single violent episode. Luft’s research does not focus on violence in one particular time or location: papers she has written and works in process include an analysis of behavioral variation among Hutu who both killed and saved Tutsi in the Rwandan genocide (Sociological Theory), an analysis of French bishops’ support for Vichy anti-Semitism during the Holocaust and their defections on behalf of Jews mid-way through the conflict (the subject of her dissertation), and an analysis of differences across time and space in rates of sexualized violence during the Holocaust (with Evgeny Finkel). Luft has held fellowships from the Saul Kagan Claims Conference and the Fulbright/Chateaubriand, and she has won grants from the Social Science History Association and the International Studies Association, as well as several internal grants from UW-Madison. Her research has also won awards from the Eastern Sociological Association, the Association for the Study of Nationalities, and an honorable mention from the Collective Behavior and Social Movements section of the ASA. You can learn more about Luft’s research at

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