Skip to main content
Indiana University Bloomington
  • People

Jewish Storytelling: Traditions and Transformations

6th Annual Jewish Studies Graduate Student Association Conference

February 8-9, 2018
Global & International Studies Building

The IU Jewish Studies Graduate Student Association’s 2018 conference will focus on the theme of storytelling and narrative. What roles do stories and storytelling play in Jewish communities? What, if anything, makes a story or narrative Jewish? What do stories and narratives mean for their creators and audiences? How are stories and storytelling practices developed, transformed, translated, and performed over time and space?  How does storytelling differ across communities?  This conference aims to foster conversation on the nature, function, and diversity of Jewish stories and storytelling.

The conference will feature a keynote address on Thursday evening delivered by Professor David Shneer, the Louis P. Singer Endowed Chair in Jewish History at the University of Colorado; it will otherwise consist of themed panels of graduate students grouped according to research interests. Participants will deliver a 20-minute paper with faculty response and questions at the end of each panel.


All conference sessions will take place in Global & International Studies Building, Room 4067


8:45 - 9:25

Breakfast & Registration

9:25 - 9:30


9:30 - 10:55

Israeli Identities in Popular Culture
Respondent: Professor Judah Cohen (Jewish Studies, IU)

  • Catherine Cleveland (University of Chicago) — “Ya Habibi: Visual Storytelling and Cultural Expression in ‘Mizrahi’ Music Videos”
  • Noah Schwartz (Carleton University) — “Joshy’s Got a Gun – Jewish Masculinity and Firearms in Amazon Studios’ Transparent.”
  • Lindsey Pullum (Indiana University) — “They know us from their stomachs, not their minds: Narrative, Food, and Druze Positionality in Nora’s Kitchen”

11:10 - 1:00

Narratives on The Margins
Respondent: Professor Sarah Ifft Decker (Jewish Studies, IU)

  • Jesse Toufexis (University of Ottawa) — “Brother-Husbands and Moronic Tzaddiks: Liminal Figures and Spaces in Jewish Literature”
  • Steve Kaplin (Indiana University) — “Simcha Bunem and the Expanding Boundaries of Hasidism”
  • Bakinaz Abdalla (McGill University) — “The Creation Narrative: Between Maimonides and Isaac Albalag”
  • Maggie Slaughter (Indiana University) — “The Jewish Unicorn: A Medieval Ashkenazi Icon of Suffering”

1:00 - 2:20


2:25 – 3:45

Diaspora, Migration and Movement
Respondent: Professor Stephen Katz, (Jewish Studies & Near Eastern Languages & Cultures, IU)

  • Roy Holler (Indiana University) — “You Can Take the Jew Out Of The Diaspora, But You Can’t Take The Diaspora Out Of The Jew: Finding a Reversed Coming-of-Age Narrative in Dahn Ben-Amotz’s “Piccolina”
  • Joel Swanson — (University of Chicago Divinity School) — “This Old Stubborn Hope: The Reclamation of the Wandering Jew in Gustave Kahn’s Contes Juifs
  • Jake Beckert (Indiana University) — “There and Back Again: Conceptions of Homeland and Diaspora Among American Jews Returning From Living in Israel”

Solotkin Memorial Lecture and Keynote Address
7:30 pm, Dogwood Room, IMU

“Performance as Storytelling: The Radical Musical Life of Lin Jaldati”

Professor David Shneer (University of Colorado Boulder)

Friday, February 09

8:45 - 9:00


9:00 - 10:25

Music and/as Narrative
Respondent: Professor David Shneer (University of Colorado Boulder)

  • Julia Riegel (Indiana University) — “Musical Sources in Oyneg Shabes’ Collections: Reading the Archival Narrative”
  • Helen Plevka (Indiana University) — ““Something Magnificent Just Out of Reach”: Richard Powers’s Use of Music in Orfeo
  • Adah Hetko (Indiana University) — “Contemporary Women Yiddish Singers: The Backstories”

10:35 - 12:25

German-Jewish Identities in the Weimar Period
Respondent: Professor Maria Bucur (History, IU)

  • Katharina Baur (University of Augsburg) — “Between Gap and Dreams – Life and Work of Paula Buber”
  • Rose Stair (University of Chicago) — “The loving Jewish woman and the inspiring Jewish teacher: on Buber, Winkler, and Scholem’s constructions of the narrative role in Jewish renewal”
  • Meghan Paradis (Indiana University) — “A Shy Little Girl" Confronts "Die Rabinowitsch": Annette Eick and Jewish Lesbians in Weimar Fiction”
  • Matthew Johnson (University of Chicago) — “The Fabric of Translation: On the German Mayse-Bukh

12:25 - 12:35

CONCLUDING REMARKS, Professor Nathan Mastnjak (Jewish Studies, IU)


[an error occurred while processing this directive]