Reimagining Sephardic Studies: Provocations from Outside the Fold

A Columbia-UCLA Virtual Symposium

Graduate Student Organized Webinar

To register, please visit:


Monday, May 2, 2022

Disciplinary Futures: African (Jewish) Studies

9:00 AM PST // 12:00 PM EST

Panel Description: While North African and Ethiopian Jewish histories are rarely discussed together, this panel highlights how state, communal, and academic institutions construct difference across African Jewish communities.


  • Adane Zawdu Gebyanesh, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Van Leer Jerusalem Institute
  • Efrat Yerday, Ph.D. Candidate, Tel Aviv University
  • Rachel Smith, Ph.D. Candidate, UCLA
  • Brahim El Guabli, Assistant Professor of Arabic Studies and Comparative Literature, Williams College


  • Kristin Hickman, Croft Assistant Professor of Anthropology and International Studies, University of Mississippi
  • Bryan Roby, Assistant Professor, Judaic Studies, University of Michigan

 State Violence and Assimilation

12:00 PM PST // 3:00 PM EST

Panel Description: This panel examines the politics of incorporation and political belonging that characterize the relationship of Jewish communities and other minoritized groups within burgeoning and postcolonial nation-states from Iran to Morocco.


  • Nesi Altaras, journalist and editor of Avlaremoz
  • Sophie Levy, editer, writer, painter, and founder and co-Editor-in-Chief of ZAMAN Collective
  • Neda Bolourchi, Post-Doctoral Assistant Professor of Middle Eastern Studies, Rutgers University-New Brunswick
  • Isa Knafo, researcher, publication designer, and documentary filmmaker


  • Sherene Seikaly, Associate Professor of History, University of California Santa Barbara
  • Lior Sternfeld, Associate Professor of History and Jewish Studies, Penn State University


 Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Keynote Address

9:00 AM PST // 12:00 PM PST

Joseph Sassoon, Professor of History and Political Economy and Director of the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, Georgetown University

“The Sassoons: The Global Merchants who Built an Empire”

Respondent: Mark Mazower, Ira D. Wallach, Professor of History, Columbia University


Monday, May 9, 2022

Relational Approaches to History in Ottoman Studies

9:00 AM PST // 12:00 PM EST

Panel Description: This panel examines new methodological approaches within Ottoman Studies that seek to expand how historians conceptualize social and economic processes of difference-making both within and across religious groups.


  • Canan Bollel, Ph.D. Candidate, University of Washington
  • Kaleb Herman Adney, Ph.D. Candidate, UCLA
  • Oya Aktaş, Ph.D. Student, University of Washington
  • Nancy Ko, Ph.D. Student, Columbia University


  • Andreas Guidi, Fellow at the German Historical Institute
  • Devin Naar, Associate Professor in History and Sephardic Studies Program Chair, University of Washington

Ethnic Studies, Jewish Studies, and Palestine

12:00 PM PST // 3:00 PM EST

Panel Description: This panel examines how the concept and histories of Jews of Color have been politicized across varying contexts, including within historic activist networks like the Black Panthers in Israel-Palestine and recent debates around Ethnic Studies at the university and beyond.


  • Vincent Calvetti, Ph.D. Student, University of Washington
  • Ryan Zohar, Librarian, Middle East Institute and MA/MLS Student, New York University
  • Jessie Stoolman, Ph.D. Candidate, UCLA and Maxwell Greenberg, Friedman Postdoctoral Fellow in Jewish Studies and Jewish, Islamic, and Middle Eastern Studies, Washington University in St. Louis


  • Evyn Lê Espiritu Gandhi, Assistant Professor of Asian American Studies, UCLA
  • Keith Feldman, Associate Professor of Comparative Ethnic Studies, University of California, Berkeley

UCLA Graduate Student Conveners: Rachel Smith (History) & Jessie Stoolman (Anthropology)
Columbia Graduate Student Conveners: Nancy Ko (History)