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Current Jewish Studies Graduate Students

Doctoral Minor Students

Mollie Ables (Musicology) focuses her research on Jewish ethnography in the early 20th century. Her dissertation addresses sacred music in 17th century Venice.

Jedidiah Anderson (Near Eastern Languages & Cultures) recently delivered the paper (in Arabic), “Language and Sexuality: A Case Study from Lebanon” at Jīl Jadīd (New Generation) Graduate Student Conference at the University of Texas in Winter 2012. He will write his dissertation on the impact of Japan on the Arab world at the end of the 19th century.

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.

Roy Holler is a second year Ph.D. candidate in Comparative Literature, with on a minor in Jewish Studies. Originally from Tel Aviv, Roy worked as a reporter for the IDF radio before moving to New York City where he continued to write a weekly personal column for Yediot Ahronot. Roy is interested in representations of trauma and revenge in Israeli and African-American literature, focusing on post-Holocaust and post-Slavery fiction.

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) was published in Journal of Handai Music Studies, Osaka University.  She spent the 2012-2013 year doing fieldwork and research in Argentina.

During the 2013-2014 year, Constanze Kolbe (History) is in Greece, France, London, and Albania for research for her dissertation tentatively entitled “Trans-Imperial Networks: Jewish Merchant Mobility across and beyond the Ionian Mediterranean”.

During 2012-13, Elizabeth Lambert (History) presented papers at the German Historical Institute, American Historical Association and Free University Berlin. She received the 2012 Bernadotte Schmidt Award in European History from the American Historical Association and has been selected as a Research Ambassador by DAAD (the German Academic Exchange Service). She will defend her dissertation, “Between Bauhaus and Buchenwald: Contested Memory in Postwar Weimar” in Spring 2014. 
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. Avi Lang is spending the academic year in France.

Allison Posner is a graduate student in the department of Comparative Literature with a concentration in Yiddish Studies. She learned Yiddish in Vilnius, Warsaw, and on the Lower East Side of New York City.  After completing her MA at IU, she spent a year in Amherst, MA at the Yiddish Book Center, where she worked on translation projects and the language programs. She is primarily interested in Holocaust testimony, including survivor accounts and literature by secondary witnesses (i.e. Sebald, Perec). Her master’s thesis was entitled, “Incomplete Testimony and The Path of Witnessing in W. G. Sebald’s Austerlitz.”  

Supported by the Borns Family Fellowship, Anya Quilitzsch (History) is pursuing research for her dissertation in Israel this year. Her research focuses on the return of Jews from the Transcarpathian region after World War II, particularly, on how Jewish returnees rebuilt their individual lives, and Jewish communal life between 1945 and 1959. She presented “Returning to a Different World: Transcarpathian Jewish Life after World War II” at IU JSP’s “Going to the People: Jews and the Ethnographic Impulse”conference in February 2013. Anya participated in “Persecution and Destruction: Yiddish, Ladino and Hebrew During the Shoah,” a scholars workshop at Yad Vashem in July 2013. Throughout the summer of 2013, she worked as Project Manager for the AHEYM project, and, with grants-in-aid supported by Dr. Alice Ginott Cohn and Mr. Theodore Cohn, she studied Hebrew in Haifa and Yiddish in Tel Aviv.

In the 2012-2013 year, Julia Riegel (History) completed her second year of coursework at IU. She studied Polish (IU SWEESL program); was an assistant instructor for two JS undergraduate courses; and presented papers on representations of Jewish masculinity in Holocaust partisans’ music at the JS Graduate Student Association’s inaugural conference and at IU History Department’s Paul Lucas Conference. For summer 2013, she received a grant-in-aid supported by Alice Ginott Cohn, Ph.D. and Theodore Cohn, for travel in Germany and Poland to explore archival sources and improve her language skills; and the History Department’s Hill Fellowship to aid related travel and research on her planned dissertation topic, which addresses the role of music in 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. Her project documents how these women take up their positions as readers of religious texts, explaining how and why legitimate interpretations are created and contested; 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.  Her project also 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

Amy Simon (History) is currently finishing her dissertation “Victim Perspectives on Perpetrators: Jewish Wartime Representations of Their ‘Lords and Masters’”.  She presented her work as a member of the plenary panel at the 2012 meeting of the Holocaust Educational Foundation’s Lessons and Legacies Conference as well as at the 44th annual conference of the AJS.  Her work has appeared in three collected volumes, and she currently teaches at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and at Northern Virginia Community College.

Juliane Wuensch (German Studies) has a strong background in teaching German as a foreign language. For her minor in Jewish Studies, she focuses on modern Jewish history and the Yiddish language. Besides language teaching, her main research interest is cultural identity and how history influences this concept.

M.A. students

Matthew Brittingham spent fall 2012 and spring 2013 taking courses and teaching discussion sections for Professor Judah Cohen’s “A Question of Identity: The Case of Judaism” (fall) and Professor Shaul Magid’s “Power, Politics, and Piety: Nationalism and Territory in Israel/Palestine” (spring). In spring 2013, he presented papers at the Midwest American Academy of Religion Conference and the Jewish Studies Graduate Student Association Conference at IU. Matt spent the summer studying Yiddish with IU’s SWSEEL program thanks to a FLAS Fellowship and funding from the Borns JSP. This year, he is writing his M.A. thesis, applying to Ph.D. programs, and continuing his study of Yiddish with support from the Yiddish Graduate Fellowship.

Emma Cudahy graduated from IU summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with majors in History and Anthropology in May, 2013. With support from a Glazer Family Fellowship, she will pursue the Jewish Studies master’s degree with special emphasis on the Holocaust in memory.