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2020-2021 Translating Jewish Cultures

Coming soon: 2020-21 Institute Annual

The Frankel Institute for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan invites applications for residential fellowships over the 2020-2021 academic year to study the intersection of translation studies and Jewish studies. The Frankel Institute will bring together a group of scholars to consider how the study of translation might enrich and complicate our understanding of Jewish cultures from antiquity to the present. We invite scholarship that interprets the debates surrounding (national) translation projects, as well as the terms and metaphors for translation that have circulated in Jewish writing and thought over the centuries. Projects could also interrogate the figure of the Jewish translator as a cultural mediator.
Whether through the Septuagint translation of the Bible, nineteenth-century translations of “world literature” into Jewish languages, or today’s translations of Hebrew literature for global markets, Jewish cultures have been formed and reformed through multi-directional translation practices. This theme year seeks to advance the study of translation writ large by inviting projects that critically engage with the interdisciplinary field of translation studies. The Frankel Institute encourages scholarship that considers how the study of Jewish translation histories and practices stands in dialogue with recent theoretical developments, informed by postcolonial theory, gender studies, transnationalism, and world literature studies. How have translational power asymmetries played out in the case of Jewish minorities living among other nations while wielding their own religious and/or cultural authority? How was translation used to promote, but also repress, exchanges around Jewish scripture, law, and thought, allowing the dissemination of Jewish ideas and the incorporation of foreign concepts into Jewish thought?
By bringing together scholars working in translation studies across a range of regions, languages, and periods, the “Translating Jewish Cultures” fellowship year will promote a productive exchange among fields that have been historically studied in separate departments and forums. To this end, we are also interested in thinking of modes of translation that go beyond the written word—for instance, dance, theater, and music—as well as relations across different textual genres (e.g., poetry and law). We further invite projects that consider Jewish translation into non-Anglophone and non-European languages and welcome cross-cultural studies that move beyond traditional East and West divides, focusing on negotiations among “minor” languages or on transnational Jewish literary networks.


Maya Barzilai
University of Michigan
"Translation Beyond Zionism: Hebrew-German Literary Exchanges"

Lucia Finotto
University at Albany, SUNY
"The Jewish Translators of the Medieval Kingdom of Sicily"

Alessandro Guetta
Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales (INALCO), Paris, France
""A common tongue": Jewish translation from Hebrew in Early Modern Italy"

Adriana Jacobs
Oxford University
"Undead Poets Society: Hebrew Afterlives in Translation"

Oren Kosansky
Lewis & Clark College
"Judeo-Arabic, Translation, and the Languages of Jewish Morocco"

Roni Masel
New York University
"Disruptive Violence: The Gothic and the Grotesque in Hebrew and Yiddish"

Joshua Miller
University of Michigan
"“A race in fragments, almost completely scattered”: The Translational Networks of Jewish Latin America"

Alex Moshkin
University of Toronto
"Migration and Translation: Contemporary Russian-Israeli Poetry"

Anita Norich
University of Michigan
"Translation Matters: Women's Prose Writing in Yiddish"

Naomi Seidman
University of Toronto
"Freud and/in Yiddish"

Yael Sela
The Open University of Israel
"Music, Myth, and Aesthetic Sensation in Moses Mendelssohn’s Translation Enterprise"

Sasha Senderovich
University of Washington, Seattle
"Translating the "Soviet Jew" Between Russia and America"

Anna Torres
University of Chicago
"Utopian Tongues: Jewish Anarchist Translation Practices"

Jason Zurawski
University of Groningen
"The Reception of the Greek Translation of Hebrew Scriptures in the Hellenistic Diaspora"