Doctoral Candidate/University of Illinois (USA)
Research Stay: 7 June to 27 July 2005
Yiddish, Yugnt-forshung and the Transformation of Jewish Social Science in the nineteen-thirties
As a student of Anthropology at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, I am currently pursuing a research agenda focused on anthropology understood as cultural history, or as »the history of the present.« I also have strong interests in intellectual and political history. All of this comes together broadly under the rubric of the study of nationalism, linguistic minority rights, and the objectification and development of new cultural systems and intellectual programs in late modern central and eastern European empires and nation-states.
Specifically, my research centers around the origins and development of modern Yiddish culture in eastern Europe from the eighteen-sixties to the nineteen-thirties. I am particularly interested in the political program of diaspora nationalism, as articulated by Simon Dubnow, and by the movement for Yiddish-based cultural autonomy as exemplified by Khaim Zhitlovsky and by the Czernowitz Conference of 1908. This summer, I hope to begin a research project examining Jewish engagement with ethnic minority treaties before and after the First World War, looking at the ways that the rhetoric of national and universal rights was employed within the Yiddish press around the Schwartzbard trial of 1927. In addition, I am currently writing my masters thesis on the intellectual history of YIVO and the development of a uniquely Jewish mode of social science through Max Weinreich's engagement with the American anthropological »culture and personality« school of thought. I also have a research interest in modern Yiddish literature, and the work of Dovid Bergelson in particular.