Nikolas Oktaba

Nikolas Oktaba's picture
6th Year Graduate School Student


Nikolas Oktaba analyzes the rhetoric and literature used to justify and encourage violence - whether mass violence such as ethnic cleansing, interpersonal abuse, or other forms. He is interested in the ways that paranoia, trauma, and loneliness inform our actions and fuel conspiracy, radicalization, and extremism.

Nikolas has explored storytelling and other forms of witnessing in expressing and navigating trauma from global perspectives, such as during his research into Himalayan Buddhism and Vietnamese religion during his Henry Luce Fellowship (2018) and Late Antiquity with a Gates Cambridge Scholarship at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge (2015). His studies have been supported by the Beinecke Scholarship (2014) and the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans (2021).

These issues of rhetoric, violence, paranoia, and trauma are of vital importance for the health and future of society, and Nikolas analyzes them in holistic and empathetic ways joined with academic rigor.

Research Interests

Violence, Trauma, Propaganda, Rhetoric, Mass Violence, Paranoia, National Security, International Relations, Psychoanalysis, Psychology, Totalitarianism

Working Languages

Polish, Ukrainian, Ancient Greek, Latin


Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans (2021)

Henry Luce Scholarship (2018)

Gates Cambridge Scholarship (2015)

Beinecke Scholarship (2014)

Education History

MPhil, University of Cambridge; B.A. Fordham University