As a JS doctoral minor, Mollie Ables (Musicology) focuses her research on Jewish ethnography in the early 20th century. Her dissertation addresses sacred music in 17th century Venice.
In November 2011, Gabrielle A. Berlinger (Folklore & Ethnomusicology) concluded more than a year of fieldwork in Tel Aviv, Israel. With the support of a College of Arts and Sciences Dissertation Completion Fellowship, she is writing her dissertation (directed by Jason Baird Jackson) on the ritual beliefs and practices of a multi-ethnic Mizrahi, working-class neighborhood in southern Tel Aviv, with particular focus on the holiday of Sukkot. She lives in New York and works as a Folk Arts Associate at the Brooklyn Arts Council.
In 2011-2012, Jessica Carr (Religious Studies) completed her archival research with visits to Chicago and New York, and presented on “The Near and Distant Past: Displays of Palestine in the National Federation of Temple Sisterhood’s Jewish Art Calendars” at the Association for JS. She served as the President of the active Jewish Studies Graduate Student Association. During Summer 2012-Spring 2013, she continued writing her dissertation on “Images of Palestine in Jewish-American Public Culture,” directed by Shaul Magid. Jessica received grants-in-aid from the Borns JSP for both Summer 2012 and Fall 2012-Spring 2013, as well as the RS Dissertation Fellowship for Fall 2012-2013. In 2011-2012, Jessica was selected for the College of Arts and Sciences Dissertation Year Fellowship recipient.
Erin Corber (History) is researching her dissertation "B'nai Mitzvot de Feu: The Great War and the Reconstruction of Jewish Life in France, 1914-1940," which has been supported by a fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. In 2011-2012, she assisted with two undergraduate history courses; gave lectures on topics such as French and Polish collaboration in the Holocaust and the U.S. entry into the First World War; and instructed an intensive upper-level undergraduate course of her own design, focusing on the First World War. Erin presented a paper at the Paul Lucas History Graduate Student conference at IU: "Croire et Agir, Believe and Act: René Hirschler and the New Rabbi in Interwar France."
Ramajana Hidic Demirovic’s (History) dissertation, “Performing Tradition in Modern Times: Laura Papo Bohoreta’s Search for Sephardic Woman’s Identity in Interwar Bosnia” is a biography of a well-known Sephardic writer. Ramajana has been awarded several grants for her research and teaching, including the Congressman Frank McCloskey, IREX, ACTR, Mellon, and IU Future Faculty Teaching Fellowships. Her translation of several of Bohoreta’s articles will be published in a collection of primary sources entitled Sephardic Reader,edited by Sarah Stein and Julia Cohen, and published by Stanford University Press.
Dara Hill (Religious Studies) presented a paper "Other Others, Ecological Others, and Ethical Responsibility: Levinas and Deep Ecology" at the 2012 North American Levinas Society conference, and is currently looking forward to passing her exams in February 2013. She is the advisor for Congregation Beth Shalom’s youth group, where she also teaches the Machon (high school) class. She is a member of the board of the Jewish Theatre of Bloomington.
Mitsuko Kawabata’s (Ethnomusicology) research interest is music and the hybridized identities of Latin American Jews, particularly in Argentina. Her article, “Abraham Zvi Idelsohn's Comparative Approach in Jewish Music: The Creation of Jewish Authenticity in Early Twentieth Century America" (originally written in Japanese) will be published in Journal of Handai Music Studies, Osaka University this year.
Constanze Kolbe (History) completed her M.A. at the University of London (SOAS) and is currently a third year doctoral student researching the social, cultural and economic relationships of the Jews of Corfu, Ioannina, Arta and Prevesa in the 19th century.
Barbara Krawcowicz (Religious Studies) is writing her dissertation entitled "Covenantal Theodicy among Haredi and Modern Jewish Thinkers during and after the Holocaust" under the direction of Professor Shaul Magid. She received funding from the Sara and Albert Reuben Scholarship and the Friends of the Borns JSP Grants-in-Aid, for this academic year. Before coming to IU, Barbara completed a Ph.D. in philosophy at Warsaw University.
During the past year, Elizabeth Lambert (History) received research and writing fellowships from the German Historical Institute, Stiftung Erinnerung Verantwortung Zukunft, and Universität Leipzig to support dissertation work and conference attendance in Washington, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania and Ukraine. Her review of Michael Meng's Shattered Spaces: Encountering Jewish Ruins in Postwar Germany and Poland is forthcoming in the Journal of Modern Jewish Studies. She presented “Between Bauhaus and Buchenwald: From Classical Weimar to Contested Memory in Germany’s Culture Capital,” at the German Historical Institute in Washington in March, and "DEFA und Mr. Marshall: Das Vergessene Werben für die 'Vereinigten Staaten von Europa'" at the Freie Universität Berlin in June. This summer, she returned to Weimar for her 10th summer at Yiddish Summer Weimar.
Researching Dante's attitudes towards the Hebrew language in the manuscript room of one of Oxford University's libraries one day, Avi Lang (Comparative Literature) decided to take a break and have a stroll. His walk took him to the very bottom floor of The Taylorian Library, to a dusty half-forgotten row of Yiddish books. He spent an hour there, sounding out the letters and tasting the language for the first time. Since that rainy October day, Avi has studied Yiddish formally in Oxford, Vilnius, New York, Tel Aviv, Strasbourg, and now, Bloomington. A seasoned traveler and a polyglot, Avi has lived and worked in the UK, Italy and Israel. From Be'er Sheva, where he worked as a high school teacher, Avi moved to Bloomington to begin a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature in 2010. Having now finished his course work, Avi is preparing for his examinations. He hopes to research Jacob Ashkenazi's Yiddish translation of the Hebrew Bible, the Tsene Urene. Originally intended for women, the Yiddish bible raises questions of gender, translation and hermeneutics.
Devi Mays (History) has spent the last year in Mexico, conducting research in several archives and writing her dissertation "Transplanting Cosmopolitans: The Migration of Sephardic Jews from the Ottoman Empire and Turkey to Mexico, 1900-1940" with help from a grant-in-aid from the Borns JSP and the Ruth Lilly Fellowship from the Department of History. She also presented a paper, "The Integration of Sephardic Jewish Immigrants in Mexico, 1905-1940" at Tepoztlán Institute in Tepoztlán, Mexico. Her dissertation examines the migration of several thousand Ladino-speaking Sephardim to Mexico as a lens into nation-building efforts in post-Revolutionary Mexico and the newly formed Turkish Republic, arguing that as Mexican and Turkish officials increasingly attempted to circumscribe national belonging along racial, ethnic, and religious lines, in part by regulating movement and citizenship, Sephardic immigrants utilized mobility to subvert state efforts to control them.
Anya Quilitzsch (History) is focusing her studies on modern Jewish ethnography in Ukraine. She has worked as a graduate assistant and now as project manager on the Yiddish oral interview project AHEYM for three years. Last year, she presented a paper at the JSGSA workshop on the Soviet Yiddish school system in 1920s Ukraine.
Amy Simon (History) is writing her dissertation on Yiddish Holocaust diarists’
perceptions of perpetrators in the Warsaw, Lodz, and Vilna ghettos. She is former Saul Kagan Claims Conference Fellow and Leon Milman Memorial Fellow (USHMM) working under the direction of Professor Mark Roseman. Amy presented her work last year at the 43rd Annual Conference of the Association for JS. She also taught a course at the University of Maryland Baltimore County entitled "Literature of the Holocaust."
Devorah Shubowitz’s (Anthropology) project, funded by the Wenner Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, analyzes why and how four generations of women with a range of feminist identifications interpret and enact biblical, talmudic, and Jewish legal texts in different institutional settings and in their daily lives. The project documents how these women take up their positions as readers of religious texts, explaining how and why legitimate interpretations are created and contested. The project reveals how Jewish women shape their voices, embodiments, politics, relationships, and selves in dialogue with a canon that refuses and regulates women in determining God’s word and law. The project analyzes the 1970s Jewish women’s feminist movement as related to religious knowledge and ritual, revealing the ethical problems that result from democratizing a male-dominant tradition. Understanding tensions that arise for women in egalitarian communities defined in dialogue with male-authored religious knowledge, along with liberal values of free choice, equal opportunity, and individual meaning, explains how, why, and to what gendering and political effects women propel the Jewish religious canon into contemporary relevance.
Margot Valles (Comparative Literature) won a 2012-2013 College of Arts and Sciences Dissertation Year Research Fellowship. She is writing her dissertation on “Knights, Giants, Quests and Jewishness? Strategies for Adapting Courtly Works for a Jewish Audience in the Medieval and Early Modern Period.”
With the support of the Glazer Family Fellowship, Leah Cover completed her first year of the M.A. in JS. She continued to study Modern Hebrew in Summer 2012 at the Middlebury Language School. She will begin work on her master’s thesis this fall and complete her degree in the Spring of 2013.
Isaac Finkelstein continues to study Yiddish language, literature, and culture with the support of a JSP Yiddish Graduate Fellowship. He plans to write his master’s thesis on the relationship between the centuries-old Yiddish folk stories about the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel and the prevalence of certain slightly more recent cross-cultural folk beliefs surrounding the fate of the Ten Lost Tribes, in hopes of raising plenty of questions to address in a doctoral dissertation in folklore someday. He received his bachelor's degree in Writing Seminars with a minor in JS from the Johns Hopkins University.
In Summer 2012, Joseph Hayden studied Hebrew at Middlebury Summer Language Institute. He is the chair of the 2013 Jewish Studies Graduate Student Conference “Jews in Image and the Imagination: Jewish Body, Gender, and Sexuality in Representation” scheduled for February 7-8, 2012.