China and Ashkenazic European Jewry: Transnational Encounters

Principal Investigator: Kathryn Hellerstein, Associate Professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures & Ruth Meltzer Director of the Jewish Studies Program

Co-Principal Investigators: Xu Xin, Diane and Guilford Glazer Chair Professor of Jewish and Israel Studies and; Dean of the Glazer Institute of Jewish and Israel Studies, Nanjing University; Song Lihong, Secretary-General, Chinese National Institute for Jewish Studies, Professor, Department of Religious Studies, Nanjing University, and Deputy Director, Glazer Institute of Jewish Studies, Nanjing University

Lead School: School of Arts and Sciences (Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures)

Chinese Partners: Nanjing University (Diane and Guilford Glazer Institute of Jewish and Israel Studies)

Project Abstract

The project aims to study 120 years of cultural exchange between China and Ashkenazic Jewry in Europe, Israel. By exploring the interchange between China and Ashkenazic Jewry over the past century, this project examines the depth, subtlety, and complexity of what happens when writers grapple with communicating commonality and difference and try to arrive at mutual understanding. The project focuses on important translations and on literary, ethnographic, religious, and philosophical works that have sparked cultural encounters in both directions, that is, from Yiddish, Hebrew, German, or English texts into Chinese, and from Chinese into these languages. The questions raised by project participants directly engage the larger issues of cultural exchange, influence, and translation that are of much interest and excitement in the humanities today and that are central to the larger contemporary global dialogue.

Among other deliverables, this project will convene three major interdisciplinary conferences and workshops.