Universiteit Leiden

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Meet Dr. Lital Abazon, LJSA Member

Prior to arriving to Leiden, Dr. Abazon completed her Ph.D. at Yale University's Department of Comparative Literature, where she also taught courses ranging from Introduction to Zionism to World Cinema.

Dr. Abazon's research and teaching lie at the intersection of nationality, ethnicity, and language, and what happens when those clash with one another. She examines the nature of such conflicts in Hebrew, French and Arabic literary oeuvres of the Middle East and Maghreb. She explores the ways in which multilingual literary texts produced by Israeli, Palestinian, Moroccan and Algerian authors articulate alternatives to the monolingual ideals of nationalist discourse. Such texts oppose the national monolingual decree by their very composition, and this ultimately allows them to suggest a more inclusive notion of citizenship.  ​

Multilingual literature is rooted in a constant linguistic shift and therefore characterized by fluidity and instability. This is manifested in a unique literary form that merges not only languages, but linguistic registers and literary genres; a from that also constantly shifts between narrating conventions and even between different fonts, rendering the textual matter itself unstable. Dr. Abazon argues that multilingual authors use this instability to undermine the monolithic ideal of the citizen reflected in the traditional monolingual national model. She is especially interested in the multilingual nature and heritage of Jewish literatures.  

According to Dr. Abazon, “I am thrilled to join the LSJA and its interdisciplinary approach to Jewish history and thought, at a time when Jewish Studies seem to be pushing for a rethinking and reshaping of the field. What can we offer as contemporary Jewish thought? I am eager to get into conversation with collogues and students, contributing my own perspective on the place of Hebrew literature in and out of the Middle East, and on the place of non-Hebrew modern Jewish literature in the contemporary Jewish canon (and to ask whether indeed we can argue for the existence of such a thing!) – it is only through such connections and exchanges that we can come up with new paradigms about Jewish Studies and its place within the humanities."

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