Call For Papers: Yiddish and the Transnational in Latin America

The Editors

We are pleased to announce that In geveb: A Journal of Yiddish Studies will be devoting a special issue to the subject of Yiddish and the Transnational in Latin America, guest edited by Yitzhak Lewis.

Scholars of Yiddish have repeatedly identified a certain discomfort with a “national culture” paradigm. As a diasporic vernacular of Eastern European, Ashkenazi Jewish life, Yiddish has precarious connections with coherent territories (where is Yiddishland exactly?) and has never been contained by a single state apparatus. Moreover, in the postwar period, with the decline of Yiddish speakers world wide, Yiddish has had a complex afterlife crossing national borders.

In geveb solicits papers that address this discomfort in the context of Latin America, where large Yiddish-speaking populations persisted for one or two generations longer than similar groups in North America and Israel. Current studies of Yiddish cultural production in Latin America are often categorized by their national origin—Yiddish in Argentina, Yiddish in Chile, Yiddish in Cuba, and so on. The In geveb special issue on Yiddish in Latin America aims to blur these limiting boundaries by examining the ways in which Yiddish cultural activists in Latin America confronted the multiple nationalist ideologies of the region, while also participating in the global network of Yiddish culture. We seek papers that address any of the following questions: How does local Yiddish cultural activity encounter, reinforce, or unsettle the national, and often illiberal, Latin American cultures that surround it? To what extent is the national designation a productive category in the study of Latin American Yiddish culture? How do we understand groups who are born into Latin American culture but live and create in Yiddish? Where do we position someone who settles in a Latin American country without settling into the national language, engaging with multiple national conversations in a language that the dominant state culture does not understand?

This special issue seeks papers that address Yiddish in Latin America comparatively, beyond the circumstances that led Yiddish speakers to particular countries. We are interested in research that focuses on the tensions of transnational cultural production. Our goal is to rethink what it means to produce Yiddish culture in a supra-national sphere, responding to local concerns that transverse the boundaries of nation states while expanding the boundaries of Yiddishland.

Examples of such comparative focus include (but are not limited to):

  • Comparing the reception of Yiddish texts in multiple local settings or examining how writers and artists take on the label of being “Latin American”
  • Comparing works or cultural institutions produced by a single cultural actor, yet appearing in multiple locations.
  • Analyzing the engagement of Yiddish culture with more than one local non-Yiddish cultural tradition.
  • Outlining cultural networks that span political borders
  • Parsing the role of non-Latin American Yiddish networks in Latin American Yiddish cultural production
  • The relationship of Latin American Yiddish culture to ideologies such as Latin American Indigeneity, Pan-Americanism and others

Please send article abstracts of 250-350 words to [email protected] by May 1, 2019. Final essays will be standard length of 7,000-10,000 words. Submissions may also include translations of relevant materials and literary texts.

Editors, The. “Call For Papers: Yiddish and the Transnational in Latin America.” In geveb, February 2019:
Editors, The. “Call For Papers: Yiddish and the Transnational in Latin America.” In geveb (February 2019): Accessed Apr 24, 2024.


The Editors