Supervisors: Professor Fiona Griffiths and Professor Rowan Dorin
“The topic of my research is devoted to the role of death and the dead in daily life in both Jewish and Christian communities in medieval Western Europe between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries. In particular, my interest lies in where the dead inhered in daily life, including through their presence lingering in material objects, dedications, ritual practices in the home, and cemetery visitation. My aim is to ascertain how the presence of the dead in daily life was mediated in legal sources, complemented by narrative and moral sources that sometimes deviated from legal standards. Ultimately, I would like to delineate the ways in which Jews and Christians participated in mutual norms and practices around the continued presence of the dead in the experience of the living, and in which particular ways the two traditions diverged.
Research Associate Hochschule für Jüdische Studien Heidelberg
“I study Jewish book culture and book collecting practices with a strong focus on the perception and handling of Hebrew manuscripts by their medieval Jewish and Christian owners in Europe. My research brings the post-production lives of books to the front and is built around the questions of how manuscripts were redirected to meet the needs of new audiences and how they were adapted to the new religious, intellectual, and sociocultural settings. To answer these questions, I examine the trajectories of books, owners’ additions, and material modifications, which turned older books into actualized, customized, and personalized objects.
PhD candidate in History Johns Hopkins University Supervisor: Prof. Anne Lester
“My doctoral research combines two of my major interests – interfaith relations in the Middle Ages and the practice and experience of pilgrimage. My thesis examines pilgrimage sites that were ‘shared’ by Jews, Muslims, and Christians in and around the crusader period (c. 1050-1300). Specifically, I am interested in how sharing sacred space allowed members of different religious communities to encounter one another, and how experiences and conceptions of such spaces helped shape perceptions of people from other religious and ethnic groups.
PhD Candidate University of Vienna, Institute for Eastern European History
“In my dissertation conducted at the Institute for Eastern European History of the University of Vienna, I am studying the Dalmatian town of Split (It. Spalato) under Venetian rule in the 15th and 16th centuries. My research centres on the ways the Venetians administrated the town and how the various communities living in Split organized their daily lives under the influence of both the Venetian dominion and the constant Ottoman threat coming from the Balkan hinterland. By consulting various sources from the archives of Zadar, Split, and Venice – especially notarial acts and court proceedings – I thus have studied who lived in Split, which groups and communities existed there, and how they interacted.
“My research explores risk and trust in Jewish-Christian economic interactions in the German Empire between 1280 and 1420, focusing on the questions of how risk was conceptualized, experienced and overcome in interreligious personal contacts, and which institutionalized mechanisms governing economic exchange helped build and sustain trust between Jews and Christians. Beyond the prevailing risks involved in any economic exchange at the time, transactions between Jews and Christians entailed further risks arising from religious tensions between them. Thus, I aim to elucidate how long-established mechanisms for risk mitigation, such as pawns, guarantors and written documents, were specifically put into practice in exchanges between Jews and Christians. I specifically focus on three cities in the German Empire: Frankfurt, Cologne and Nürnberg, each a significant commercial and financial center and each embedded in a different institutional setting in the decentralized German Empire.
“My research interests focus mainly on the socio-economic history of European Jews in the early middle ages up to the 11th century. In my PhD dissertation I take up the ongoing discussion about the Jews in the Christian sources of that time period. There has been some considerable debate on these texts against the backdrop of a relative absence of Jewish sources. Some scholars even deny the very existence of a Jewish presence in given places, since some of the non-Jewish texts appear to use Jews solely as a rhetorical device. My project “Doctors, Glassblowers, Slave Traders? Professions of Jews And Their Functions Between Topos And Reality in the Christian Sources of the Early Middle Ages.” will deal specifically with the economic pursuits of Jews in the time frame of 508-1096.
Westfälische Wilhelms-University Münster, Institute for Jewish Studies Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Katrin Kogman-Appel and Dr. Laura Suzanne Lieber
“In my forthcoming doctoral dissertation, “Ashkenazi Mahzorim as Generators of an Affective Experience,” I seek to capture the cognitive-emotional reception of illuminated Ashkenazi mahzorim, produced between 1250 and 1350. Mahzorim are Jewish prayer books containing piyyutim (liturgical poems) and biblical texts intended for recitation in the synagogue on each Jewish holiday. Many of these prayer books are illuminated to a different extent–from full-page illustrations, decorated initial panels, to grotesque marginalia. What particularly concerns me in my project is how the verbal and visual content of mahzorim mediates the cardinal messages of the holidays. I contend, that the theological ideas and biblical narratives are conveyed to worshipers by means that trigger their imagination, senses and emotions–thus, encouraging a more meaningful reception.
Professor Yitzhak Becker Chair in Jewish Studies Department of Jewish History and Contemporary Jewry History Department The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
“I study the social history of the Jews of medieval Ashkenaz, seeking not only to further the integration of Jewish history within that of greater Europe, but also to develop theoretical tools that allow for a deeper understanding of the way medieval Jews were both a distinct group and an integral part of medieval European culture.
Professor in the Department of History and the Department of Jewish Studies Chair of the Department of Jewish Studies Rutgers University
“My research explores Jewish-Christian relations in Western and Mediterranean Europe during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries through the analysis of published and archival sources in Latin, Hebrew, and romance vernaculars. It builds on the broad interdisciplinary training I received in medieval history, comparative religion, and comparative literature at Harvard and Columbia, where I wrote an undergraduate thesis on the Jewish-Christian Disputations of the Middle Ages (2001) and a dissertation on Jewish conversion in the fourteenth-century Crown of Aragon (2007). Upon receiving my doctorate, I accepted a joint appointment at Rutgers University in the departments of History and Jewish Studies. I have taught in these departments—with most of my courses cross listed between them—since 2007. I am now serving my second term as chair of the Department of Jewish Studies. In recent years, I have increasingly participated in public-facing work combatting antisemitism, Islamophobia, racism, and other forms of bigotry.
PhD Candidate University of London, Courtauld Institute of Art Advisors: Dr Alixe Bovey, FSA FRHistS
“My research interests center around Jewish-Christian relations and Jewish experience in Western Europe between 1290 and 1550. I am particularly fascinated by the migration of Hebrew manuscripts and manuscript production practices in this period.