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Jewish Masculinity in the Zionist Ballroom

Hosted By: Schusterman Center for Israel Studies at Brandeis University

When people think about the Zionist “New Jew” in early twentieth-century Europe, all-male spaces like sporting clubs and dueling fields come to mind. Yet the dance floor was an important proving ground (and site of anxiety) for Jewish men, who demonstrated their adherence to European and Zionist views of masculinity by dancing with women, an activity forbidden by traditional Jewish law.

A Schusterman Scholars Seminar with Sonia Gollance.

These are advanced seminars, geared toward faculty and graduate students, and open to all, presenting the latest research in Israel Studies.

Sonia Gollance is Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Yiddish at University College London. Her research focuses on Yiddish studies, German-Jewish literature and culture, gender studies, and performance studies. She is the Managing Editor of Plottng Yiddish Drama, an initiative of the Digital Yiddish Theatre Project. Her academic work has appeared in Austrian Studies, Dance Chronicle, Eighteenth-Century Studies, and Jewish Social Studies. Her book, It Could Lead to Dancing: Mixed-Sex Dancing and Jewish Modernity, was published in 2021 with Stanford University Press.

She is currently translating Tea Arciszewska’s modernist play about the Holocaust Miryeml (1958), supported by a 2020-21 Yiddish Book Center Translation Fellowship. She is also developing a project on Yiddish women playwrights. Previously she taught at the University of Vienna, The Ohio State University, and the University of Göttingen (Germany). She earned a PhD in Germanic Languages and Literatures from the University of Pennsylvania.

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