Yehuda Sharim

Congratulations to Yehuda Sharim.   Not only does he graduate this Spring with his PhD in Culture and Performance, but he has also received a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Jewish Studies at Rice University.   His dissertation, The Rise and Fall of Sephardic-Mizrahi Autonomy: Racial Identities in Palestine from 1918–1948, examines the production and mobilization of the idea of Sephardim-Mizrahim— literally, “Oriental Jews” or Jews of Arab descent— in the Jewish community of Palestine and later Israel. His research entailed investigating immigration records of the Jewish community in Palestine from the 1920s, protocols of Sephardic-Mizrahi organizations and letters, as well as journalistic pieces, all in order to explore the crystallization of a unified Sephardic-Mizrahi entity by 1918, the organizational forms it took in the 1920s, and the way in which it became the subject of careful pseudo-scientific scrutiny in the 1930s and 1940s. By analyzing how the concept of Sephardim-Mizrahim operated and under what conditions it has been made to seem natural, he demonstrates how it promoted political activism and proffered a discourse of race and ethnicity. Yehuda’s work shows the volatile implications of this ethnic/racial label in the ongoing discursive debates concerning national belonging and persisting ethnic divisions in the Israel/Palestine of today.   You can learn more about his postdoctoral fellowship at Rice University here:


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