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Join 2020-2021 Stroum Center graduate fellows Ke Guo, Abby Massarano, and Jeffrey Haines as they present their research in Jewish studies:

From Home to Zoom: Sustainable Futures for Sephardic Music

Ke Guo, Robinovitch Family Fellow

The Binding of Isaac in Late Antique Synagogues: The Function of Biblical Art in Performing Jewish Identity

Abby Massarano, Robert and Pamela Center Fellow

Tracing Jews in Medieval Kurdistan: Syriac and Muslim Sources as a Window into Jewish History

Jeff Haines, I. Mervin and Georgiana Gorasht Fellow

Colloquium Respondent: Hamza M. Zafer, Associate Professor of Near Eastern Languages & Civilization

Learn more about each presenter and their research:

A portrait of Ke Guo smiling, wearing a dotted white button-up blouse, with trees and bushes in the background

Ke Guo, Robinovitch Family Fellow

“From Home to Zoom: Sustainable Futures for Sephardic Music”

Ke Guo is a Ph.D. student in music education with a focus in ethnomusicology at the University of Washington’s School of Music. She was born in Wuhan, China, and studied applied mathematics at UCLA for her B.S. degree. She then obtained an M.S. in management science and engineering from Stanford University and an M.M. in music education from San José State University. Her research in world music education and ethnomusicology has covered topics in both Chinese music and Sephardic music. As a vocalist and multi-instrumentalist, she is also active as a concert performer, and has offered individual concerts as well as collaborative concerts in America and Europe. Focusing on the topic of the worldwide transmission and reception of Sephardic music both within and outside of the Sephardic community, she is excited to conduct future field research in the Iberian Peninsula, Turkey, and other countries around the Mediterranean. Read about Ke’s research:

Headshot of Abby Massarano.

Abby Massarano, Robert and Pamela Center Fellow

“The Binding of Isaac in Late Antique Synagogues: The Function of Biblical Art in Performing Jewish Identity”

Abby Massarano is a graduate student in the School of Art, Art History, and Design at the University of Washington, where she is pursuing her M.A. in art history. Her research is focused on the interplay of image and biblical text in Mediterranean and Near Eastern Abrahamic art in Late Antiquity. She received her B.A in psychology with a minor in art history from Mills College in Oakland, CA. After moving to Seattle, she worked in art conservation and preservation before deciding to return to academia. For her fellowship project, Abby is researching the interplay of text and image in late antique Abrahamic art of the Near East and the Mediterranean through scenes of the Akedah (The Binding of Isaac) in synagogues and other worship spaces. In addition to the Stroum Center graduate fellowship, Abby is also a recipient of the Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship for Hebrew. Read about Abby’s research:

A portrait of Jeffrey Haines smiling, wearing glasses and a striped blue button-up shirt

Jeffrey Haines, I. Mervin and Georgiana Gorasht Fellow

“Tracing Jews in Medieval Kurdistan: Syriac and Muslim Sources as a Window into Jewish History”

Jeffrey Haines is a fifth year doctoral candidate in the University of Washington’s Department of History, having previously completed a double B.A. in history and classics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and an M.A. in early Christian studies at the University of Notre Dame. His dissertation, “Mosul’s Hinterland: Village and Monastery in Early Islamic Mesopotamia,” examines the history of the rural, multi-religious communities that flourished on the northern edge of the Islamic caliphate through the lens of Syriac monastic histories. As a graduate fellow in Jewish Studies, he will focus on the folklore and culture of the Jewish villages that have existed side by side with Christians, Muslims, Yezidis, and Zoroastrians in this region for centuries. Read about Jeff’s research:

Colloquium Respondent

Portait of Hamza Zafer, smiling

Hamza M. Zafer, Associate Professor of Near Eastern Languages & Civilization, University of Washington

Hamza Zafer’s research focuses on the Quran’s engagements with Jewish communities in Arabia, and the portrayal of these communities in the earliest Muslim historical and exegetical writings, up to the 9th century. His first book, “Ecumenical Community: Language and Politics of the Ummah in the Qurʾan,” was published in November 2020.

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