Current Institutional Affiliation
Doctoral Candidate, University of Michigan

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2013
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Comparative Literature, University of Michigan
Knowledge in Dispersion: Theorists of Yiddish Culture in New York City, Mexico City, and Buenos Aires (1890-1967)

Following East European Jewish emigrants to new locations and to new national, linguistic and cultural realities, my dissertation will examine the shifting global outlook and extension of Yiddish cultural projects—efforts to sustain a vibrant artistic and institutional sphere in Yiddish—situated in the Americas. Rather than privileging one transregional axis, my approach aims at a careful engagement with the geographic imaginations and travel itineraries of Yiddish intellectuals during the first half of the twentieth century, drawing upon the highly productive but hitherto little examined Yiddish text culture of the Americas: autobiographical writings, travelogues, cultural criticism, literary works, translations and correspondences. A comparative focus on three regional centers of Yiddish culture—New York City, Mexico City and Buenos Aires—opens a vantage that illuminates both interamerican and transatlantic dynamics of travel and cultural circulation, rather than thinking of Jewish immigrant culture mainly in terms of arrival and integration into new national contexts. My objective is not only to chart networks, movements and locations lived and imagined, but also to excavate a world of thought sustained by them: to ask how the upheavals of two world wars and the foundation of the state of Israel could be understood in relation to the present and future viability of a dispersed Yiddish cultural life. In undertaking a study of historical consciousness in dispersion, I hope to offer a fresh perspective on the present transnational moment.