Yiddish Ethnography and An-Ski
Hosted By: YIVO
Sh. An-ski (Shloyme-Zanvl Rappoport, 1863-1920), was a writer in Russian and Yiddish, a revolutionary, a wartime relief worker, and an ethnographer who studied the Jews of the Russian empire. During his 1911-1914 expeditions to shtetls in Ukraine, he would report, he and his co-workers took 1000 photographs, recorded 1000 Yiddish songs and 1500 stories, and purchased 400 objects for a Jewish museum. The expedition also inspired An-ski to write his signature play, The Dybbuk. Although East European Jews used ethnographic tools to study themselves both before and after An-ski’s expeditions, he retains an outsize status in the field of Yiddish ethnography, strongly tied to the success of his play. This talk explores the connections between An-ski’s ethnographic work, his play, and the Russian politics of his era. This event will take place on Zoom as part of YIVO’s 2021 Yiddish Civilization Lecture Series.
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