Latin American Jewish and Gender Studies
The HBI Project in Latin American Jewish & Gender Studies (LAJGS) is a pioneering initiative for the study and exploration of Jewish life and gender in Latin America (Mexico, Central America, South America and the Caribbean) and among Latin American Jewish immigrants worldwide. LAJGS will promote inquiries into such topics as memory politics, ritual observance and participation, local iterations of global ideologies (such as socialism, feminism and Zionism), and artistic movements approached as both locally authentic and extra-nationally salient. Interested also in the multitude of push and pull reasons for immigration of Latin American Jewry within and beyond Latin America—including Israeli historical developments and related local reactions; national instances of political and economic instability, including military dictatorships and currency devaluations; and the influence of established Latin American Jewish diaspora communities over those who remain — LAJGS encompasses the study of Latin American Jewry within Latin America and beyond.
Dalia Wassner, PhD, is the director of the Project on Latin American Jewish & Gender Studies at the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute of Brandeis University. She writes on feminist cultural responses to violence in a trans-Atlantic frame, collective memory and memory politics, and cultural connections between Jews and other minorities involved in Latin American processes of national democratization. Her first book “Harbinger of Modernity: Marcos Aguinis and the Democratization of Argentina” (Boston: Brill, 2014) illuminates the intersecting roles of Jews and public intellectuals in bringing democracy to post-dictatorship Argentina. Dalia Wassner holds a doctorate in history from Northeastern University, an MPhil in Jewish studies from the Jewish Theological Seminary of New York, and master's degrees in history and Latin American studies from Stanford University. Dalia Wassner has been an active participant at HBI since 2012 as a scholar-in-residence, research associate, and Gilda Slifka Internship Program mentor. Since 2015 Dalia Wassner has taught Latin American Jewish history at Brandeis in the Near Eastern & Judaic studies department and Latin American & Latino studies program. She has also developed courses in women's studies, Latin American studies, and Jewish studies, most recently at Emerson College, Boston University and Brandeis University. These courses include Latin America and its Jews: A Cultural History; Modern Latin America; Women Warriors of Latin America; Engendering Culture; Creating National Identity in Latin America; Politics of the Past: History, Memory and the Arts; and Literature of Extreme Situations.