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Sephardi Mizrahi Studies Caucus Discussion List - October 22, 2006

Association for Jewish Studies Sephardi/Mizrahi Studies Caucus Discussion List

Editor/Moderator: Aviva Ben-Ur <aben-ur(at)judnea(dot)umass(dot)edu>

Week of Sunday, October 22, 2006 (30 Tishrei 5767)


For archived issues please visit:



1.  AJS Panel Abstract: Is Ladino Dead Yet? (Balbuena)

2.  Early America's Digital Archive (Shaw)

3.  Hazel D. Cole Fellowship in Jewish Studies (Paxton)

4.  Brandeis University Summer Institute for Israel Studies (Hoffman)

5.  SSRC Dissertation Proposal Development Fellowship (Pohl)

6.  American Philosophical Society Library Resident Research Fellowships, 2007-2008 (Spamer)

7. Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

 Scholars-in-Residence Program (Debarros)

8. Call for Applications: Bridget Jones Travel Award (Quinn)

9.  Call for Papers: The Jews of Syria (Dahan Center)


1. AJS Panel Abstract: Is Ladino Dead Yet? (Balbuena)

Date: Tue, 10 Oct 2006 10:54:45 -0700

From: "Monique R. Balbuena" <balbuena(at)uoregon(dot)edu>

[Note from Editor/Moderator Aviva Ben-Ur: AJS abstracts are still being accepted for posting to the List.]

Panel Organizer: Monique R. Balbuena, Clark Honors College, University of Oregon

Chair: Norman Stillman

Panel Description:

Deeply affected by the loss of most of its speakers during the Shoah, Ladino, or vernacular Judeo-Spanish, has been living its death sentence for quite a number of years. Recently, even without the organic community where it flourished as a living daily language, Ladino has been the language of choice for a series of literary works appearing in different parts of the world: in Latin America, US and Israel, to name a few, there are novels, poetry books and musical recordings all coming out in Ladino. This panel discusses some of this literature written in Judeo-Spanish or Ladino, with an eye to literary devices and intertextual dialogues. We give special attention to contemporary poetic and literary production in Ladino, hoping not only to acknowledge the renewed interest in the language but also to place the discussion of Ladino out of a context of Sephardic nostalgia.

The panel includes Manuela Cimeli, who discusses the early 20th century Ladino novel, exploring its connections with European culture, in the process of modernization and Westernization of the Sephardic world;Rachel Amado Bortnick, who gives an overview of the state of Ladino today, with its new creative upsurge; Monique R. Balbuena, who focuses on two poets whose Ladino writings are conceived in the shadow of the Shoah, Franco-Serbian Clarisse Nicoïdski and Israeli Margalit Matitiahu; and Gloria Ascher, who delves into the multifaceted and prolific work of Israeli author Matilda Koén-Sarano.

In their diversity of genres and breadth of scope, the four papers present multiple aspects of a literature and a language that have not yet been fully appreciated in scholarly venues, especially in the US. 

Manuela Cimeli, University of Basel (Switzerland), Manuela.Cimeli(at)

“The New Life "a la franca" – Some Remarks about the Ladino Novel of the Early 20th Century”

During the first decades of the 20th century, the European influence became omnipresent in the Ladino literature. The intellectual Sephardi class, having been educated in the schools of the foreign European states, represented the modern generation. They spoke French and their behavior reflected entirely the Western culture. Many of them were involved with journalism and thus were responsible for the distribution of the Ladino novels which were firstly published in the press.

The novel established a direct connection to the modern European world. The texts reflect the sociological aspect of modernization and explain the significance of this concept for the Sephardi Jews of the early 20th century. It meant not only external distinguishing marks such as the French jacket or the use of the 'otomobil' –the changes were much more profound and influenced the entire social structure by raising topics such as the role of women, mixed marriages, or the problematic dilemmas connected with assimilation or integration in a non-Jewish environment.

Using some original texts from the second decade of the 20th century, I would like to illustrate some characteristic examples of the trivial, entertaining and yet 'modern' Sephardi novel.

Rachel Amado Bortnick

 “Ladino Today”

The demise of Ladino (also known as Judeo-Spanish) has been predicted and declared for at least fifty years.  Yet today, the last generation of native Ladino speakers from around the world are actively engaged in using, teaching, researching, and promoting the language in an effort to keep it alive.  As a result, the last twenty years have witnessed an upsurge in literary and musical creativity, as well as in journalistic and book publication in Ladino.  The Internet and the widespread use of the computer has aided in this grass-roots revitalization.  Additionally, Sephardic studies programs in academic institutions have increased, and these have brought to light many old Ladino texts written in the Hebrew scripts traditionally used in Ladino writing and publication. While musicologists continue to collect old Ladino songs, increasing numbers of musical artists record and perform these as well as newly created ones. My presentation will give an overview of the state of Ladino today, focusing on activities around the world which are revitalizing the language and spreading its knowledge.

Monique R. Balbuena

“The Mother Tongue in the Shadow of Destruction: A View of Two Poets”

After several books in Hebrew, Israeli poet Margalit Matitiahu starts writing in Ladino, a move prompted by a trip to Salonica, her parents’ hometown, whose vibrant Jewish community was destroyed in the Shoah. Clarisse Nicoïdski, who writes novels in French and poems in Ladino, is also moved, in her poetry, by memories of her mother and of the war. In this paper I read some poems from Matitiahu’s Kurtijo Kemado and Alegrika, and from Clarisse Nicoïdski’s Lus Ojus, Las Manus, La Boca. I discuss the sexualized perceptions of Jewish languages, analyzing the gendering of languages within Jewish diglossia or multilingualism and its correlation with the shaping of Zionist nationalist discourse, which also relies on a gendering of Jewish history. If the case of Yiddish has been previously treated (Niger, Weinrech, Seidman), I offer the first analysis of Ladino/Djudezmo within this framework, integrating the Sephardic experience into the discussion of language choice and the construction of national identity. I also observe the connection between gender and genre, as many traditional Sephardic genres become identified with women, and, as a stretch, with the “mother,” as the socio-linguistic conditions of the communities are gradually transformed.  In addition, I discuss how the poets move across languages, negotiating their vernacular Jewish languages with their national languages, and how their conscious choices of languages and texts amount to calling into question a homogenized national identity.

 Gloria J. Ascher

“A New Classical Literature in Ladino: The Works of Matilda Koén-Sarano”

An important aspect of the current intensified activity in the field of Judeo-Spanish (Ladino), the language and its various forms of cultural expression, has been the burst of literary production. In recent years, new poems, stories, plays, and at least one novel in Ladino have come from writers living in many parts of the Ladino-speaking world.  Among these writers is the prominent Judeo-Spanish activist, storyteller, scholar – and poet, Matilda Koén-Sarano, who lives in Jerusalem. Impressive is the variety of Matilda Koén-Sarano’s literary work. She is the author of five musical comedies (music mainly by Haim Tsur).  Her collection  Ritmo Antiko: Poezías i kantigas kon Notas (2005), includes, as the title suggests,  not only a representative selection of her poems, but musical notations they inspired, thus becoming popular contemporary Judeo-Spanish songs. Her 478-page volume of personal stories, Por el plazer de kontar – kuentos de mi vida, is about to appear. Matilda Koén-Sarano excels in all of these genres: a poet of great sensitivity, perception, and style, she demonstrates fine dramatic talent, and is a master of the art of storytelling. Infused with the Judeo-Spanish tradition that is her heritage, her works often reflect and explore key aspects of that heritage and experience. But they are also products of our time – one poem is explicitly sent by fax. Most important: their significance transcends the confines of any specific cultural tradition.  Like all great literature, the works of Matilda Koén-Sarano provide insight into essential aspects of the human experience, exemplifying what may be termed a new, contemporary classical literature in Ladino.


2.  Early America's Digital Archive (Shaw)

Date: Wed, 27 Sep 2006 22:37:37 -0400

From: Jenny Shaw <>

via: Atlantic History Workshop <atlantic-world(at)forums(dot)nyu(dot)edu>

Dear All,

 Some of you may already be aware of the EADA project, but for those who aren't, here is the url:

 This is a really fantastic resource of early american texts, that is fully searchable by author, title and subject etc. Highly recommended!

Jenny Shaw

Graduate Assistant

Atlantic History Program

New York University


3. Hazel D. Cole Fellowship in Jewish Studies (Paxton)

Date: Fri, 6 Oct 2006 10:39:22 -0700

From: Loryn Paxton <lpaxton(at)u(dot)washington(dot)edu>


 The Jewish Studies Program at the University of Washington is welcoming applications for the Hazel D. Cole Fellowship in Jewish Studies for the academic year 2007-2008.  The Fellowship may be used for post-doctoral research or to complete doctoral research in any field of Jewish Studies.  Candidates must agree to be in residence at the University of Washington for the tenure of their fellowship.  The Hazel D. Cole Fellow will receive a stipend of approximately $30,000 for the academic year, will offer one undergraduate seminar or lecture course, and will make a public presentation while in Seattle.

Applicants from all American and foreign universities are welcome.
Applications should consist of:

 (1) A current curriculum vitae.

 (2) A description (not exceeding five pages) of the proposed research.

 (3) Three letters of recommendation.

Finalists will be interviewed at the AJS convention.  Phone interviews may be conducted for finalists who are not able to attend AJS.  Information on the date and site of the annual AJS meeting can be found at:

All applications (including letters of recommendation) should be received
no later than November 1, 2006.

Application materials may be mailed to: Hazel D. Cole Fellowship Search
Committee, JSIS, University of Washington, Box 353650, Seattle, WA 98195-3650; lpaxton(at) (Applications by fax will not be accepted).

Loryn Paxton, Coordinator

Comparative Religion Program,

Jewish Studies Program,

Institute for International Policy,

University of Washington

Box 353650

Seattle, WA 98195

Tel: 206.543.4835

Fax: 206.685.0668


4. Brandeis University Summer Institute for Israel Studies (Hoffman)

Date: Thu, 12 Oct 2006 15:05:33 -0400

from: <tauber(at)brandeis(dot)edu>

via: judaic(at)judnea(dot)umass(dot)edu

Dear Colleagues,

 We now welcome applications for Brandeis University Summer Institute for Israel Studies 2007. The Seminar is designed to assist faculty in colleges and universities primarily in North America in the design of new courses in Israel Studies they plan to introduce into the curriculum of their home campuses.

 Please visit our web site for information on eligibility, application procedures, and stipend:

 Please share the attached announcement with your colleagues and others who might be interested.

Thank you

Miriam Hoffman

Tauber Institute




5. SSRC Dissertation Proposal Development Fellowship (Pohl)

Date: Sun, 15 Oct 2006 00:43:45 -0000

From: Matthew Pohl [mailto:pohl(at)ssrc(dot)org]

via: Aviston Downes <downes(at)MAIL(dot)H-NET(dot)MSU(dot)EDU>

 Dissertation Proposal Development Fellowship (DPDF) Faculty Opportunities

 The Social Science Research Council, with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, is pleased to announce a new program of fellowships and workshops for predissertation research and dissertation proposal development. The DPDF program is designed to intervene at a critical moment in the career development of graduate students in the humanities and social sciences by aiding their transition from students to researchers.  More information about the program may be found at:  The DPDF program invites interested faculty from US universities to participate as research directors leading groups of 10-12 graduate student fellows in two four-day workshops. Each group will be led by two research directors, who will receive a stipend of $7,500 each.  

 Research Fields

 The Faculty Advisory Committee of the DPDF program is actively recruiting senior faculty to lead small groups of graduate fellows in two sets of workshops (scheduled for May 17-20 in Denver; and September 6-9, 2007 in St. Louis).  These workshops frame summer predissertation research in a series of research fields. A research field refers to subdisciplinary and interdisciplinary domains with common intellectual questions and styles of research. These might come out of emergent fields, for example sustainability studies, visual culture, or biotechnology and society; fields could be constituted around geographic regions not traditionally mapped by current funding structures, such as Atlantic History, Pacific Rim Studies, or Maritime East Asia; or they might emerge from novel ways of encouraging comparative and interdisciplinary work, including a focus on specific kinds of sources, such as tax records, censuses, voting results, or art collections.

 Research fields can be topical in focus (e.g., youth and generational change, governance of empire, liberalism), transnational in scope (e.g., diasporas and refugees, illicit flows or border disputes), or comparative (e.g., studies of social entitlement, urban cultures, or collective protest).  

 Research Directors

 The Faculty Advisory Committee will select five research fields, each proposed by two faculty research directors with different institutional affiliations and, as relevant, disciplinary specializations. These research directors will be responsible for selecting 10 to 12 graduate fellows; the research directors, with the assistance of SSRC staff, will run the spring and fall workshops that bracket the predissertation research of the students. Research directors should be tenured, experienced supervisors of thesis research. Each faculty member will receive a stipend of $7,500; students will receive up to $5,000 for summer predissertation research.

 Application Requirements and Deadline

 The DPDF invites faculty to submit joint proposals of research fields for the 2007 fellowships.   There is no formal application process, but letters of interest - no longer than 5 single-spaced pages - should describe the relevance of the research field and a short bibliography, the kind of graduate students who might be recruited, and the kinds of activities that would be entailed in each of the two workshops, along with curricula vitae of the two research directors.  Please submit letters and supporting documents electronically by November 15th, 2006.  

 Contact Person:

 Neal Profitt, Program Coordinator

 Dissertation Proposal Development Fellowship

 Social Science Research Council

 810 Seventh Avenue, 31st floor

 New York, N.Y.  10019

 phone: 212-377-2700 x478

 fax: 212-377-2727


6.  American Philosophical Society Library Resident Research Fellowships, 2007-2008 (Spamer)

Date: Wed, 18 Oct 2006 09:26:10 -0400

From: espamer(at)AMPHILSOC(dot)ORG

via: jmcclyme <jmcclyme(at)ASSUMPTION(dot)EDU>H-ETHNIC(at)H-NET(dot)MSU(dot)EDU

Library Resident Research Fellowships, 2007-2008:

 The American Philosophical Society Library offers short-term residential fellowships with stipend for conducting research in its collections.

 The Society's Library, located near Independence Hall in Philadelphia, is a leading international center for research in the history of American science and technology and its European roots, as well as early American history and culture.  Specific strong subject areas include:

     History of science, technology, and medicine

     Early American history and culture to 1840

     Anthropology, particularly Native American history, culture, and languages

     History of eugenics and genetics

     Race and ethnic studies

     Travel, exploration and expeditions

     Intellectual history

     History of astronomy, physics, and geophysics

     Natural history

 The Library houses over 8 million manuscripts, 250,000 volumes and bound periodicals, and thousands of maps and prints.  See manuscript finding aids and guides to the collections through links on the library webpage: . Also see the complete list of subject guides by using the dropdowns under "Library" on the navigation bar at the top of the Library webpage.

 Fellowships are open to both U.S. citizens and foreign nationals who are holders of the Ph.D. or the equivalent, Ph.D. candidates who have passed their preliminary examinations, and independent scholars. Applicants in any relevant field of scholarship may apply. Candidates who live 75 or more miles from Philadelphia will receive some preference.

 The stipend is $2,000 per month.  The term of the fellowship is a minimum of one month and a maximum of three; it must be taken between June 1, 2007 and May 31, 2008. Fellowships are usually of one month in duration, and seldom exceed two months. Fellows are required to be in residence at the Library for four to twelve consecutive weeks, depending upon the length of their award.

 More information and all application instructions, including forms, are on our website:  All forms should be be submitted as e-mail attachments.  Applications are due at the Society no later than March 1, 2007.

 If the library's webpages do not provide the information you look for, please send an inquiry to Libfellows(at)


 Earle E. Spamer

 The American Philosophical Society

 Library Hall

 105 South Fifth Street

 Philadelphia PA 19106-3386


7. Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

 Scholars-in-Residence Program (Debarros)

Date: Wed, 18 Oct 2006 23:37:11 -0000

From: Aviston Downes <downes(at)MAIL.(dot)H-NET(dot)MSU(dot)EDU>/Juanita DeBarros debarr(at)mcmaster(dot)caH-CARIBBEAN(at)H-NET(dot)MSU(dot)EDU

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture Scholars-in-Residence Program Fellowship 2007-2008


 THE SCHOMBURG CENTER residency program assists scholars and professionals whose research on the black experience can benefit from extended access to the Center's resources. Fellowships funded by the Center will allow recipients to spend six months or a year in residence with access to resources at the Schomburg Center and other research units of The New York Public Library.


 The Scholars-in-Residence Program is designed to (1) encourage research and writing on the history, literature, and cultures of the peoples of Africa and the African diaspora, (2) to promote and facilitate interaction among the participants including fellows funded by other sources, and (3) to facilitate the dissemination of the researchers' findings through lectures, publications, and the ongoing Schomburg Center Colloquium and Seminar Series. Applicants must indicate in their proposal how they propose to use the resources of the Schomburg Center as well as those of other research units of The New York Public Library to further their research. For access to the catalogs of the Schomburg Center and The New York Public Library, go to: For assistance from a reference librarian, call 212-491-2218.


 The Fellowship Program is open to scholars studying the history, literature, and culture of peoples of African descent from a humanistic perspective and to professionals in fields related to the Schomburg Center's collections and program activities. Projects in the social sciences, science and technology, psychology, education, and religion are eligible if they utilize a humanistic approach and contribute to humanistic knowledge. Creative writing (works of poetry and fiction) and projects that result in a performance are not eligible.

 Persons seeking support for research leading to degrees are not eligible under this program. Candidates for advanced degrees must have received the degree by December 1 of this year.

 Note: This program does not fund dissertation research.

 Foreign nationals are not eligible unless they will have resided in the United States three years immediately preceding the application deadline. 


 Applications for the Scholars-in-Residence program will be reviewed by a Selection Committee consisting of the Residency Program Director and external reviewers chosen from scholars in the humanities and the social sciences. Fellows will be selected on the basis of the following criteria:

 *        Qualifications of the applicant.

 *        Quality and feasibility of the project plan.

 *        Importance of the proposed project to the applicant's field and to the humanities.

 *        Relationship of the project to the humanities.

 *        Relationship of the project to the resources of the Schomburg Center.

 *        Likelihood that the project will be completed successfully.

 *        The provisions for making the results of the project available to scholars and to the public at large.


 Fellowships are awarded for continuous periods of six ortwelve months at the Schomburg Center with maximum stipends of $25,000 for six months and $50,000 for twelve months. Fellows must devote full time to their research projects. They are expected to be in continuous residence at the Schomburg Center and to participate in the intellectual life of the Program. They may not be employed during the period in residence except sabbaticals from their own institutions. Those selected as Scholars-in-Residence may supplement their stipends with support from their own institution or small outside grants if the requisite approval is received from the Schomburg Center. Fellows may begin residence at the Center after September 1. This program is made possible in part through a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Ford Foundation, and the Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation


 A complete application must include 10 copies of each item listed below, and a self-addressed, stamped post card to acknowledge receipt of the application package:

 *        The Schomburg Center Scholars-in-Residence Application Form

 *        A 1500 word description of the proposed study

 *        Curriculum vitae

 Three (3) reference letters should be mailed directly to the Scholars-in-Residence Program and received no later than December 1st.


 In no more than 1500 words the applicant should provide a detailed description of the proposed study, including but by no means restricted to the following elements:

 *        A statement of the topic under consideration with specific reference to the major questions, problems, and theses being investigated.

 *        An outline of the plan for carrying out the study or project.

 *        Discussion of the sources/data for the study and plans for examining them.

 *        Description of research methods.

 *        Applicant's competence in the use of any foreign languages needed to complete the study.

 *        The place of the study in the applicant's overall research and writing program.

 *        The significance of the study for the applicant's field and for the humanities in general.

 *        The final objective and expected products of the study. Plans for publications, lectures, exhibitions, teaching, and other vehicles of dissemination should be detailed. Fellows will be expected to share their findings through these means and as participants in the Schomburg Center Colloquium and Seminar Series during their residency.

Juanita De Barros

Assistant Professor

Department of History

McMaster University

613 Chester New Hall

Hamilton, Ontario

L8S 4L9


tel: (905) 525-9140,x. 24149

fax: (905) 777-0158


8. Call for Applications: Bridget Jones Travel Award (Quinn)

Date: Wed, 18 Oct 2006 23:19:29 -0000

From: kate quinn <flossyquinn(at)hotmail(at)com>

via: Aviston Downes <downes(at)MAIL(at)H-NET(at)MSU(at)EDU>/ H-CARIBBEAN(at)H-NET(at)MSU(at)EDU


 Arts researchers or practitioners living and working in the Caribbean are eligible to apply for the Bridget Jones Travel Award, the deadline for which is the 15th December 2006. The winner of the award will present their work at the Society for Caribbean Studies Annual Conference, 4th-5th July 2007 at London Metropolitan University. 

 THE AWARD: THE BRIDGET JONES TRAVEL AWARD FOR CARIBBEAN STUDIES We would like to pay tribute to the late Bridget Jones, scholar and long-time supporter of the Society, who died on April 4th 2000. In Bridget's  memory, we offer a travel bursary of £650 plus full conference fees and accommodation to enable an arts practioner/researcher from any region of the Caribbean to present their work at the Society's annual conference. We believe that Bridget would have approved of our scheme to facilitate greater participation in our conference by people from the Caribbean. In keeping with Bridget's broad-ranging interests we are encouraging visual artists, performers and creative writers to submit proposals in addition to the more usual scholarly research papers.


 If you are an arts practitioner or researcher (postgraduate, postdoctoral or professional) working in any region of the anglophone, hispanic, francophone or Dutch speaking Caribbean, you may apply for the Bursary. The successful recipient will receive £650 towards travel expenses and, in addition, a full bursary to cover conference fees and accommodation. Applications are especially welcome from individuals with no institutional affiliations.  


 To apply for the bursary you must submit either:

 (a) A one page abstract of a research paper which you intend to present to the Society's conference on any subject related to cultural production or the arts.

 (b) A proposal for a presentation of your work, in the areas of film, visual  -or performing arts.

 (c) A proposal of a reading of original creative work.

 Enquiries about the application procedure should be sent by e-mail to Kate Quinn, Chair of the Bridget Jones Travel Bursary Sub-Committee, Institute for the Study of the Americas: kate(dot)quinn(at)sas(dot)ac(dot)uk

 Applications should be in writing, including a covering letter, full  -Curriculum Vitae/resume and statements from two referees who are able to comment on your work.  Completed applications must be received by Dec 15th 2006. A decision will be made by the committee in late January 2007.

 For more information on the Bridget Jones Travel Award, please contact Kate Quinn or visit the Society website on


Kate Quinn

Institute for the Study of the Americas

University of London

31 Tavistock Square

London WC1H 9HA



9.  Call for Papers: The Jews of Syria (Dahan Center)

Date: Sun, 15 Oct 2006 16:13:53 +0200


[Note from Editor/Moderator Aviva Ben-Ur: The original announcement appears in Hebrew; below is my paraphrase]

Call for Papers

International Conference: The Jews of Syria, May 28-29, 2007

The Dahan Center for Sephardi Society, Culture, and Education

Bar-Ilan University

Themes may cover antiquity to the present day.  Selected lectures will be published in a special collection.

Proposals in Hebrew are due on Nov.30 to:

The Dahan Center

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