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The Yiddish Studies Faculty

Columbia's Yiddish Studies Program is directed by Jeremy Dauber, an Associate Professor of Yiddish Language, Literature, and Culture. Professor Dauber received his doctorate in modern Jewish studies from the University of Oxford in 1999, where he wrote his dissertation on the usage of Biblical and rabbinic texts by the Hebrew and Yiddish writers of the Haskala, or the Jewish Enlightenment. His research interests include the Haskala, the origins of modern Jewish literature, and the development of the Yiddish theater. He is the author of Antonio's Devils: Writers of the Jewish Enlightenment and the Birth of Modern Jewish Literature (Stanford University Press, 2004) and is currently collaborating with Professor Joel Berkowitz of SUNY-Albany on a series of translations of modern Yiddish plays.

Agi Legutko specializes in modern Yiddish literature, language, and culture, women and gender studies, spirit possession in Judaism, as well as in American and European modern Jewish literature, theater, and film. Her research interests also include trauma, memory, performance, and the body represented in modern Jewish culture. She is interested in exploring the possibilities offered by digital humanities in Yiddish language instruction and is an advocate of integrating technology in the classroom.

She received her Ph.D. (2012, with distinction), M.Phil (2008), and M.A. (2006) in Yiddish studies from Columbia University, and her M.A. (2002) in English Language and Literature and Translation Studies from Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland. Before joining Columbia University, she was a Visiting Assistant Professor in Yiddish Language, Literature and Culture at the University of Maryland.

She is currently focusing on creating an online database of Yiddish teaching materials and is working on turning her dissertation into a book that explores the trope of dybbuk possession in twentieth-century Jewish literature and performing arts. Her publications include Krakow’s Kazimierz: Town of Partings and Returns, a historical guidebook to the Jewish Quarter of Krakow (in English and Polish 2004, 2009), and articles on dybbuk possession in modern Jewish literature and on Yiddish poetry, such as “Feminist Dybbuks: Spirit Possession Motif in Post-Second Wave Jewish Women’s Fiction” (Bridges: A Jewish Feminist Journal, Spring 2010) and “‘The Circus Lady:’ Gender Poetry of Celia Dropkin” in Joanna Lisek (ed.), Silent Souls? Women in Yiddish Culture, (Wroclaw University Press, 2010).

She teaches courses in Yiddish language on elementary, intermediate and advanced levels, as well as in Yiddish literature and culture, such as Magic and Monsters in Yiddish Literature and Taste of Yiddish.

The Interdepartmental Committee on Yiddish Studies

  • Michael Stanislawski (chair), Nathan Miller Professor of East European Jewish History
  • Jeremy Dauber, Associate Professor and Director of Yiddish Studies, Department of Germanic Languages
  • David Weiss-Halivni, Lucius Littauer Professor of Religion
  • Marvin I. Herzog, Atran Professor Emeritus of Yiddish Studies (ex officio)
  • Andreas Huyssen, Villard Professor of Germanic Languages and Comparative Literature
  • Dan Miron, Leonard B. Kaye Professor of Hebrew and Comparative Literature
  • Yosef H. Yerushalmi, Salo Wittmayer Baron Professor of Jewish History, Culture, and Society

Yiddish Studies Advisory Council

  • Elie Wiesel, Honorary Chairman
  • Molly Freedman
  • Robert Freedman
  • David Gildin
  • Melvin Gold
  • Sherry Gold
  • Bel Kaufman
  • Laurence Newman
  • Harold Ostroff
  • Robert Pollack
  • I. Bernard Weinstein

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