Modus Operandi with Claire Aubin

Modus Operandi is a regular series that peers into the methods and personalities of UO  undergraduate scholars. 

Claire Aubin is a senior double-major in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies and International Studies. Aubin’s research focuses on Ivan “John” Demjanjuk, a Ukrainian immigrant living in Cleveland, who was accused (and found guilty – twice) of being a Nazi war criminal and Holocaust perpetrator. Her research looks specifically at how the Demjanjuk case can be used to illustrate the many international legal mechanisms designed to administer postwar justice. UROP caught up with Claire to learn more about her modus operandi.

Students are busy; do you use any apps or technology to help manage your time and productivity?

I keep a fairly meticulous schedule in Apple Calendar and use the SelfControl computer app when I feel like I might get distracted.  Other than that, I have a good old-fashioned Moleskine planner that basically maps out my life.

What are a few of the primary tools and/or resources that you use in conducting research? What do they do?

UO Libraries website is beyond helpful, especially for finding articles and eBooks available for download. I also use the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, Yad Vashem, and USC Shoah Foundation websites for publicly available documents when I’m unable to be physically present in the archives. That being said – archivists are the best research tools in the world and more people should appreciate them!

How did you get started in research?

I’ve always been the kind of person who enjoys delving as deeply as possible into the topics I care about. I almost think that every paper I’ve written in my life has been a research paper, I just wasn’t always aware of it.

If you could do research in a different field, what would it be? Why?

Art History or another cultural study. I’m an Art History minor and it’s a truly fascinating subject that is too often viewed as trivial. In general, people really lack an understanding of how fully art both shapes and reflects our world.

What is your favorite place on campus?

It’s a tie between the Lawrence Hearth, the A&AA Library, and the third-floor study rooms in Knight Library.

What are you currently reading?

Academically: The Right Wrong Man by Lawrence Douglas

For pleasure: Speak, Memory by Vladimir Nabokov (well, actually, re-reading)

Do you listen to music while you work? If so, what genre(s) and why?

I have a playlist of hip hop instrumentals by artists like Ta-Ku, DJ Shadow, Ackryte, and Portico Quartet that I pretty much exclusively listen to when I’m working. Good beats help to put me into a mental flow state without getting distracted by lyrics.

How do you stay inspired and energized?

I care so deeply about my thesis’ subject that it’s actually fairly easy for me to stay enthusiastic about it. The more research I conduct, the more energized I am, and the cycle continues. Other than that, having the constant support of my advisor, Prof. Julie Hessler, is incredibly motivating.

Coffee, tea, or soda person? Copious amounts, or within reason?

Tea! And I guess it depends on how close I am to my deadline…

Have you thought about what you want to do after graduation?

I will be attending the University of Edinburgh in Scotland for grad school starting in September!

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

There are actually two, and they’re both from my mother. “You can’t do everything at once” and “hydrate!”