Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies

Latin American Jewish Studies Association (LAJSA) 20th International Research Conference

July 6, 2023: Virtual conference day 

July 9-11, 2023: In-person conference meeting

Hosted by the Brandeis Initiative on the Jews of the Americas

Every two years LAJSA holds its International Research Conference for the purpose of bringing together scholars from multiple disciplines and geographical regions whose work focuses on the lives, languages, experiences, cultural production, and representations of and by Jews in and from Latin America and the Caribbean. Our conferences provide a stimulating and collegial environment for presenting research and creating lasting transnational networks among participants.

The conference will feature academic presentations and roundtables as well as two evening events open to the public:

July 9, 6 pm reception; 7 pm keynote address (English) Professor Claudio Lomnitz

Columbia University anthropologist, Professor Claudio Lomnitz discusses "On the Integration of Jewish History into Latin American History (And Vice Versa)— A Personal Perspective"

July 10, 6 pm reception; 7 pm presentation (Spanish) Dr. Daniel Abouganem
Author of Historia de los judíos en Colón: Una gran familia, Dr. Abouganem rescues the history of Jewish settlement in a city located at the Atlantic side of the Panama Canal and tells the story of three communities established before and after the construction of the crossroads of the Americas.  


Daniel Abouganem
Daniel Abouganem

Dr. Daniel Abouganem is an endocrinologist by trade and a descendant of the founding Jewish families of Colón, Panamá. His book is the first to capture the history of this Atlantic coastal community that was part of the transformation of Panamá to become the "Crossroads of the Americas."  Abouganem will be discussing the history of the Jews of Colón, the making of the book, and the narrative's participation in current commemorations of the Panama Canal.

Presentation recording

Julian Bonder
Claudio Lomnitz

Claudio Lomnitz is Campbell Family Professor of Anthropology at Columbia University and is a member of Mexico's El Colegio Nacional. A prolific scholar, journalist, and playwright, his critically acclaimed Nuestra America: My Family in the Vertigo of Translation is a study in Jewish and Latin American family history, published by Other Press in 2021; it was listed by Kirkus Reviews in the top 10 non-fiction books for that year. Lonmitz serves on the board of numerous journals and academic institutions. Several of his books have won prizes. He was a Fellow at the Wissenchaftskolleg zu Berlin for 2011-12 and was awarded Germany's Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung Prize in 2016.

Presentation recording

Meet the Director, Jews of the Americas

Dalia Wassner
Dalia Wassner, PhD
Director, Jews of the Americas, CMJS
Associate Research Scientist

Dalia Wassner, PhD, is the director of Jews of the Americas, an initiative of Brandeis University at the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies. Dr. Wassner is a historian whose research and teaching is dedicated to providing more inclusive and interdisciplinary approaches to the Jewish Diaspora and broadening the academic fields of Jewish Studies, Latin American Studies and Diaspora Studies.

Dr. Wassner is the author of Harbinger of Modernity: Marcos Aguinis and the Democratization of Argentina (Boston: Brill, 2014), which illuminates the intersecting roles of Jews and public intellectuals in bringing democracy to post-dictatorship Argentina. She is guest-editor of the launching issue of the journal Latin American Jewish Studies (Spring 2022), and her scholarship has been published in numerous academic journals, including Latin American Research Review, Iberian and Latin American Studies, Contemporary Jewry, and Journal of Modern Jewish Studies. Dr. Wassner serves on the Latin American Jewish Studies Association Board of Directors, the Jewish Women's Archive Encyclopedia Editorial Board in the field of Latin America, and the Association for the Social Scientific Study of Jewry Board of Directors.