Collage for six students. From top left: Canan Bolel, Ke Guo, and Oya Aktas. From bottom left: Busra Demirkol, Ben Lee, and Joana Burger

University of Washington graduate students whose research lies at the intersection of Ottoman, European, Jewish, Mizrahi, and Sephardic studies are being recognized for their work with competitive funding awards, and are also sharing their research at prestigious virtual and in-person conferences around the globe.

Read all about the recent achievements of seven students from across four academic disciplines, including History, Ethnomusicology, Near and Middle Eastern studies, and Computer Science, who are each bringing a unique perspective to their field.

Join us in wishing these students continued success with their research.

Adelantre — onward and upward!

Canan Bolel to become new Assistant Professor at the UW

Portrait of Canan Bolel smiling, leaning her head against her hand, wearing a dark sweater, with a brick wall, window, and plants in the backgroundCanan Bolel, a Ph.D. candidate in the Interdisciplinary Near and Middle Eastern Studies Program and two-time graduate fellow in Jewish Studies, will become the new Assistant Professor of Jewish Cultures, Literature and Languages of the Eastern Mediterranean at the University of Washington this fall. The position is the first of its kind in the United States. Read about Canan’s appointment >

Canan was also recently awarded the University of California, Irvine New Horizons in Jewish Studies Essay Prize for her paper, “Jewish Body, Jewish Quarter, Jewish Disease: Spatialization of Cholera in Late Ottoman Izmir.” The prize comes with an award and an invitation for Canan to visit UC Irvine to share her work. Learn more about Canan’s research >

Essays by Canan:

Joana Bürger presents at two conferences; publishes first peer-reviewed article

Portrait of Joana Burger. She is wearing sunglasses, a white tshirt, and has her hair in a bun. There are leaves in the background

Joana Bürger, a Ph.D. student in History, presented a paper at “Jewish Responses to Persecution and Rescue Efforts during the Holocaust,” an international, virtual workshop based in Athens on May 10-11, 2022. Her paper was titled “Greece as Transit Space for Jewish Refugees: Greek Jews’ Refugee Relief Work (1933-1941).” View the Athens workshop program >

Joana also participated on a roundtable at the 2022 Mediterranean Seminar Workshop at Rutgers University on the theme “Crisis and Displacement.” Joana’s paper is titled “The Mediterranean as Space of Continuity in the Face of Political Rupture.” View the Rutgers workshop program >

Finally, Joana recently published her first peer-reviewed article in the journal “Quest,” titled “Between Corfu and Athens: Moisis Caimis’ Contribution to the Making of Greek Jewry (1885-1916).”

Busra Demirkol awarded American Academy for Jewish Research fellowship

Portrait of Busra Demirkol smiling, putting her head in her hand, wearing a coat, sitting at a table, with a cityscape in the backgroundBusra Demirkol, a Ph.D. student in History and former Mickey and Leo Sreebny Graduate Fellow in Jewish Studies, was awarded a fellowship from the American Academy for Jewish Research for her project “‘Bloodstained Jewish Midwives’: The Emergence of Modern Gynecology and Its Impact on Jewish Female Healthcare Workers in the Late Ottoman Era (1827-1923).”

Read Busra’s 2021 essay, “Reproduction in the 19th-century Ottoman Empire: The story of the “bloodstained” Jewish midwives” >

Ke Guo awarded travel grant from American Academy for Jewish Research

A portrait of Ke Guo smiling, wearing a dotted white button-up blouse, with trees and bushes in the backgroundKe Guo, a Ph.D. candidate in Music Education and Ethnomusicology, and the former Rabinovitch Family Graduate Fellow in Jewish Studies, was awarded a travel grant from the American Academy for Jewish Research to support her dissertation project, “Teaching Music in Diaspora: Inspiration and Observation from Sephardic Cultures.” The award will support her summer travel to Spain and Portugal.

Watch Ke’s 2021 Jewish Studies graduate fellow presentation, “Sephardic Music, From Home to Zoom: Sustainable Futures” >

Ben Lee presents at two virtual conferences; appears in new digital journal

A portrait of Ben Lee smiling, wearing a white button-up shirt and tan blazer, with a medieval painting visible in the backgroundBen Lee, a Ph.D. candidate in Computer Science and past Richard and Ina Willner Memorial Graduate Fellow in Jewish Studies, has recently presented his research that applies machine learning to Ladino newspapers at two virtual conferences:

At “Studying Advertisements in Pre-1939 Jewish Press: Methods and Challenges,” a virtual workshop hosted by the University of Wrocław, Ben gave a talk titled “Using Machine Learning to Extract and Analyze Advertisements in History Ladino Newspapers, 1890-1948.”

At the virtual 2022 ucLADINO Conference, “(En)gendering Ladino: Transmission, Language, and Creation,” Ben presented on “The Digital Humanities and the Ladino Press: Unlocking Historic Ladino Newspapers with Machine Learning.” Watch the ucLADINO presentation >

Finally, Ben was interviewed for a recent piece in the digital journal EuropeNow, along with Sephardic Studies Assistant Director Makena Mezistrano. Read the EuropeNow interview >

Three graduate students participate in UCLA-Columbia symposium

Portrait of Oya Aktas smiling, wearing a sweater and necklace, with a gray backdrop behindThree UW graduate students will present at “Reimagining Sephardic Studies: Provocations from Outside the Fold,” an upcoming online symposium hosted by UCLA and Columbia University. Oya Aktaş, a Ph.D. candidate in History and two-time graduate fellow in Jewish Studies, as well as Canan Bolel, will serve on a panel called “Relational Approaches to History in Ottoman Studies.” Devin Naar will serve as a respondent. Vincent Calvetti-Wolf, a Ph.D. candidate in the Interdisciplinary Near and Middle Eastern Studies and former Mickey Sreebny Memorial Scholar in Jewish Studies, will present on a panel titled “Ethnic Studies, Jewish Studies, and Palestine.” Read the full UCLA-Columbia program >

Essays by Oya:

More about Vincent:

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