13th Annual Rice University Jewish Studies Lecture Series
Date: October 6, 2021
Time: 7:00 pm
Location: J @Home Virtual Programs
Contact: Rabbi Barry Gelman
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Join the Program in Jewish Studies at Rice University for three fascinating lectures spanning the global Jewish community from East to West. From marginalized Moroccan Jewish artists in Israel fighting for recognition, to Iranian Jews negotiating between integration and cultural preservation, to discussions of antisemitism and philosemitism in Europe and the United States, these presentations explore how Jews live simultaneously as insiders and outsiders in the modern world.
Dr. Tamar Sella
After reaching superstar status in North Africa, Moroccan Jewish singer Zohra El Fassia (1905-1994) was largely disregarded when she settled in an anti-Arab Israel circa 1964. Nevertheless, toward the end of El Fassia’s life, Moroccan-born filmmaker Haim Shiran (b. 1937) began tirelessly documenting the aging singer. In this lecture, Dr. Sella tells the interwoven stories of the singer and the filmmaker, and explores the ways in which together they formed new relationships to marginalized Moroccan Jewish histories. She situates their story within the broader social and cultural history of Mizrahi Jews, or Jews from Arab and Muslim countries in Israel/Palestine.
Dr. Sella, a Samuel W. and Goldye Marian Spain Postdoctoral Fellow in the Program in Jewish Studies at Rice University, is an ethnomusicologist whose research takes an interdisciplinary approach to broadly investigate the intersections of performance, diaspora, and power. She is primarily interested in the relationship between Jewish diaspora, Mizrahi culture, and themes of race, gender and colonialism in the Middle East. Her current research is an ethnographic study of contemporary Mizrahi performance and cultural memory that seeks to illuminate the ways in which ongoing Jewish diasporic formations reframe colonial and racial logics in Israel/Palestine. Dr. Sella received a PhD in music from Harvard University in 2020 and a BA in music from UC Berkeley in 2011.
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