POSEN SOCIETY OF FELLOWS – A FELLOWSHIP FOR EMERGING SCHOLARS.
The Posen Foundation congratulates the Posen Society of Fellows 2019-2021 Cohort.
Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Haifa
Department of Jewish History, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Chair, The Historical Society of Israel
Emanuel Ringelblum Professor of Jewish History and Director of the Davis Humanities Institute, University of California, Davis
Professor of History and Maurice Amado Chair in Sephardic Studies.
Professor Michael Gluzman, Department of Literature, Tel Aviv University
Seymour and Lillian Abensohn Chair in Israel Studies at American University in Washington DC and Professor of Jewish History and Culture at Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich.
Posen Society of Fellows Coordinator
Class of 2019-2021
The “Schmittian” Jews: Leo Strauss, Isaac Breuer, and the Foundations of Jewish Theopolitics of the State
When did the state – a distinctively modern institution – become a “Jewish” vocation? The invention of Jewish Orthodoxy’s theopolitics of the state was neither “religious/messianic Zionist” nor part of an eternal Jewish inclination towards “theocracy.” Rather, it is a product of the Weimar Republic’s political and theological crisis. Leo Strauss and Isaac Breuer were the inventors of statist Orthodoxy through an innovative and hazardous engagement with the political thought of later Nazi-aligned theorist Carl Schmitt.
Constructions of Jewish Modernity and Marginality in Izmir, 1856-1914
The project focuses on the marginal Jews of Esmirna (Izmir) as a case study of the poor, diseased, criminal, and religious converts, and their experience with Ottoman and Jewish modernizations. This research maps a new methodological terrain by placing the Ottoman Jewish body at the center.
The Weak Joint: German-Yiddish Literature after 1900
An exploration of the relationship between German and Yiddish literature after 1900. It identifies an understudied corpus of texts that use both German and Yiddish and shows how this linguistic intersection became a concentrated space for reflection and literary experimentation that opened new possibilities for modern Jewish writing.
Hawkers and Housekeepers: Gender, Class, and Jewish-Arab Relations on Palestine’s Margins (1887-1948)
This study examines everyday relationships that arose in early 20th century Palestine when Jewish workers entered Arab employers’ homes and when Arab workers entered Jewish employers’ homes. Specifically, I trace the experiences of peddlers, housekeepers, nannies, and midwives to construct a social history of a transformative period in Palestine.
Jews in Cross-Confessional Legal Cultures in Germany, 1500-1700
The thesis uncovers the culture of a legally conscious, proactive, and multi-normative German Jewry in the context of major imperial legal reforms underway. Drawing on a previously overlooked body of Jewish cases before the Imperial Supreme Court (Reichskammergericht), alongside internal Jewish sources and German legal sources, it complicates historiographical conventions pertaining to rabbinic legal culture, Jewish citizenship and Jews’ perception of state institutions.
Modern Jewish-Argentine Literature: Reconsidering the Canons
This project considers the transnational, multilingual literature of Ashkenazic Jewry in the Argentine context. Through an evaluation of literary influence, transculturación, and canon formation, I examine what is revealed when we dismiss or turn away from languages or literatures.
Class of 2018-2020
Credit, Debt, and the Politics of Favor: Non-Muslim Merchant-banking Families in Ottoman Damascus and its Hinterland, 1840-1890
The work narrates the story of Ottoman Jewish and Christian financial elites under foreign protection, who came to play a key role in the provincial administration and economy of Damascus amidst the Ottoman state’s reform project as well as dramatic shifts in world financial markets.
Singing in the Anteroom to Hell: Memorializing Music in Theresienstadt
The work complicates prior reductive, redemptive narratives of musical activity in Theresienstadt that rely upon tropes of resistance and defiance. Through a contextualized analysis of musical works that were rehearsed and performed in the camp-ghetto, the work establishes a historically nuanced understanding of the performances’ multifaceted function in Theresienstadt and in postwar contexts.
Translational Encounters with Modernism: Jewish-American Multilingual Literature in the Age of Mass Migration
An exploration of a strand of twentieth-century Jewish literature made uniquely possible by the encounter between Jewish multilingualism and Anglo-American modernism. Multilingual representational strategies in Jewish-American works - technically written in a single language (English, Yiddish and Hebrew) - manifest relationships to traditional Jewish textuality in their response to the modernist crisis of expression.
Liberating Labour? Jews, Women and Work in Wilhelmine Germany and the First World War.
The project examines the role of Jews and women in the market economy vis à vis the emerging welfare state, juxtaposing Jewish occupational history with the history of women's economic emancipation in Imperial Germany and exploring the role of work in contemporary German-Jewish constructions of gender.
Broken Rings: Leningrad Jews in the Siege
The work analyzes the identity of the “Subject of the Catastrophe,” formed within the besieged space of Leningrad, 1941-1944. For the Jewish population there, identity included a complicated need to overcome the symbolic death of the term “Jew,” as it was inscribed in racist ideology and anti-Semitic discourse.
The Making of a Postcolony: Legal and Economic Technocracy in Late British Mandate Palestine and the State of Israel, 1939-1967
A study of the special role that technocratic experts in the late Yishuv and early State of Israel played in building legal and economic institutions using the colonial scaffoldings from British Mandate Palestine and other former colonies. The project thereby connects the histories of Palestine and Israel with late British Empire decolonization and postcolonial state formation.
Class of 2017-2019
Heritage and Loss: The Fate of Yiddish in Buenos Aires, 1929-1961
Language loss is at the center of the post-war Jewish experience. Multilingual Jewish intellectuals in Argentina, refugees and survivors from Eastern Europe, experienced the decline of Yiddish as a vernacular and its refashioning as a shared Jewish language. Archival materials, memoirs, and oral histories show how the Holocaust, revelations of Soviet crimes, and the creation of Israel shaped attitudes toward Yiddish in Buenos Aires, linking loss and heritage.
Salomon Dubno (1738-1813) and the Influence of East European Jews on the German Haskalah
The project examines the largely overlooked input of Eastern European Jews to the German Jewish Enlightenment. This contribution is elucidated through the case of Salomon Dubno (1738-1813), a Polish Jewish poet, grammarian, and a teacher, best known for his collaboration with Moses Mendelssohn on the German Pentateuch translation and commentary, one of the most important Haskalah projects.
Le Goût Sémite: Art Collecting, Identity, and Antisemitism in Early Third Republic Paris, 1870-1914
The ubiquity of Jewish collectors of modern art , particularly Impressionism and Symbolism, in Paris during the early Third Republic raises an intriguing question: why were so many Jewish collectors attracted to these art movements? Furthermore, Jewish ownership changed the way contemporaries understood this art, compelling them to describe it in language steeped in anti-Semitic stereotypes.
Return to Sepharad: Jewish Revivalism and the Pragmatics of Inclusion in Spain
An investigation of how the return of Jews and Judaism to Spain animates often-incompatible claims about the nature Jewishness and Jewish culture, and who/what counts as Jewish. It sheds light on the fraught state of European multiculturalism and outlines what “return” and “inclusion” might entail, in an era when representing Jewish pasts and securing Jewish futures are increasingly part of statecraft across Europe.
The Exile Bible: Language, Music, and Dispersion in the Works of German-Jewish Émigrés
The interaction between individual and community is elucidated through literary and musical works of German-Jewish émigrés, all based on materials from the Hebrew Bible. The works reject the idea of collectivity by using biblical references previously serving to unify the Jewish community in alternative ways. An hitherto overlooked voice that constitutes a response to exile and cultural uprooting.
New Criticism Int.: The Close Reader in the U.S., Israel and Brazil
The thesis uncovers the traces of traditional Jewish modes of reading within the prominent and self-proclaimed secular method of “close reading” in the literary theory of “New Criticism,” as it travels from the U.S. to Israel and Brazil. In all three locations the textual, ritual, and bodily practices that accompanied the traditional sefer offer a model both for the thinkers who develop this paradigm, and for the authors who attempt to subvert it.
The Evolution of the Israeli Asylum Regime (1948 - 2017)
An investigation of the evolution of the Israeli asylum regime from 1948 to the present, posing as core questions how has the regime evolved and what were the central factors determining this evolution. The way we define and treat others is intimately related to the construction of our own identity. This inquiry touches on the on-going negotiations of Israel’s “essence,” character and values and the tension that emerges from striving to be a liberal-democratic Jewish nation state.
Class of 2016-2018
Yiddish Russian: A People's History of Language and Literature in the Soviet Union.
The thesis traces the role of Yiddish as the linguistic means of ushering Jews into secular modernity in the Soviet Union, while facilitating intercultural crossings from Jewish to non-Jewish cultures.
Attitudes toward conversion to and from Judaism in the Zionist movement and the State of Israel.
Views of conversion from Judaism to Christianity and vice versa in the early and mid-twentieth expose the profound differences between secular and religious Zionist definitions of Who is a Jew. The research shows that Zionists did not have a clear stance on conversion and there was, in fact, much more contact between converts to Christianity and secular Zionists than we might expect. Looking at cases of intermarriage, the position of intellectuals (e.g. Yosef Haim Brenner) and secular and religious parties in the young State of Israel, this thesis elucidates Israeli secularism through a unique, under-researched prism.
Of Harmony and Discord: Jews and North African Music in the Twentieth Century
Advancing a novel approach, the thesis probes Jewish involvement - indeed, prominence - in the defining cultural product of twentieth-century North Africa: music. In the Maghrib, Jewish musicians, commercial agents, record label owners, and music venue proprietors came to play an outsized role in the music scene from the rise of the recording industry there at the turn of the century through Moroccan, Tunisian, and Algerian independence at mid-century. New light is shed both on Jewish-Muslim interconnectedness and on religious-secular spheres of interaction.
Navigating the Civil and Religious Worlds: Jewish Immigrants & Marital Laws in France and the United States 1881-1939
This is a study of the legal secularization of Jewish family practices in early 20th-century France and the United States. The juridical encounters of Jewish immigrants with civic courts and family law and their impact on the separation of church and state are reflected in the rise of civil marriage and divorce. These processes affected Jewish immigrants' transition to modernity, changing their sense of Jewish identity as they became new French or American citizens
Jewish Life in a Colonial Home Front: The Yishuv and British Rule in Wartime Palestine, 1939- 1945
The thesis explores the role of the colonial (British) state and culture in the modernization of the Jews of the Yishuv. It examines popular culture and urban everyday life and practices such as domestic habits, dress and consumption, thereby uncovering the profound historical significance of war as an agent of change and modernization in the Jewish community.
The Ethnic Republic: The European Contours of the French Universal Idea and the Making of French Algeria, 1870-1919
Connecting modern Jewish history with questions of empire, religion, race and nationalism in France and French North Africa, the thesis analyses the political meaning of Jewish-Muslim-Christian encounters in Algeria. It touches on both Jewish and Muslim acculturation and assimilation and their interplay with the modern-secularist character of French republicanism, focusing on the recently prominent interest in the history of Empires.
Class of 2015-2017
With an Unbuttoned Shirt (“Mit a Tseshpilyet Hemd”): Anarchist Modernism in Yiddish Literature
Rabbinic Textuality and the Rise of Secular Jewish Literatures in Imperial Russia
The Creation of a National Jewish Culture in Interwar Lithuania
The Europeanisation of French Jews: French Jewish perceptions of Jews in Southeast Europe, 1840 to 1900
Contemporary Hassidism: From Image to Reality. The Slonim Hassidism-test Case
Commemorating the Temple in Heritage Sites around
the Temple Mount in Jerusalem
Class of 2014-2016
Jewish Culture and the Logic of the State: 1772-1848
Saving Yiddish: Yiddish Studies and the Language Sciences in America, 1940-1970
Radical Nationalists: Moroccan Jewish Communists 1945-1975
The Hymns of the Sabbatean “Ma’aminim” in their Ottoman Context
Jewish Responses to the Influx of Eastern wisdom into German Thought during the Wilhelmine Era and the Weimar Republic
The Role of Women’s Song in the Transmission of Jewish Identity in Northern Morocco
Class of 2013-2015
Law and Community: Trials of Jewish Collaborators at Displaced Camps in Germany and in The State of Israel
“In-Between” — Jewish Studies in Post WWII Germany 1960–2009
Jewish Political Lives at the End of Empire: Zionism, Nationalism, and British Imperialism in India, South Africa, and Palestine,
Narrative Encounters of Muslims and Jews in Contemporary Rural Morocco
The Electrification of Palestine, 1917-1948
After Europe: The Transformation of Jewish Politics in World War II
The Experience of Time in the Writings of R. Shneur Zalman of Liady
“Let it be Consumption!”: Modern Jewish Writing and the Literary Capital of Tuberculosis