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Translation as a Bridge? Literary Encounters between Israeli & American Jewish Cultures

Photo for Translation as a Bridge? Literary

Image courtesy of Dr. Omri Asscher

Center Postdoctoral Fellow Omri Asscher will explore competing Jewish identities in Israel and the US through the prism of literary translation.

Monday, October 29, 2018
12:15 PM - 1:30 PM
UCLA Bunche Hall, Room 10383
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Co-sponsored by the UCLA Department of Comparative Literature, the UCLA Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies and the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures

About the Talk

The Hebrew translation and reception of literary works by Jewish-American writers, and the English translation of works by Israeli authors, constitute particularly interesting junctures between the two major Jewish cultures of our time. Each culture was confronted in this way with an often competing concept of Jewish identity, and divergent representation of contemporary Jewish existence, which were harbored by the literary imagination of their Jewish Other.

This talk explores the ideological appropriation involved in processes of translation and interpretation in both directions, in order to shed light on the different ways in which each Jewish cultural center responded to the challenge—and potential inspiration—represented by the other.

About the Speaker

Omri Asscher is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Y&S Nazarian Center for the 2018-2019 academic year. During his time with the Center, Asscher will continue working on a book titled Reading across Borders: Israel, America, and the Politics of Translation between Jews and on a documentary history of American Jewish cultural life from the late 19th century to our times (in Hebrew).

While at UCLA, he will also teach courses in his areas of research, which deal with competing Jewish identities in Israel and America, mainly as reflected in the politics of translation and literary exchange between the two Jewish cultures.

Articles by Asscher have appeared in Jewish Social Studies, AJS Review, Journal of Modern Jewish Studies, Translation and Interpreting Studies, and Target: International Journal of Translation Studies, among others. His recent translations into Hebrew are Samuel Beckett’s Murphy and Watt (forthcoming). Among his non-fiction translations are The Unfolding of Language and Thinking in Tongues by Guy Deutscher.

Prior to joining the Center, Asscher was a Kreitman Postdoctoral Fellow at the Ben-Gurion Research Institute for the study of Israel and Zionism at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (2016-2018), a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Ruderman Program for American Jewish Studies at the University of Haifa (2015-2016), and has served as director of the Translation Certificate Program at Beit-Berl College (2015-2018). He completed his PhD in literary and cultural studies in Tel-Aviv University in 2014.


Sponsor(s): Y&S Nazarian Center for Israel Studies, Comparative Literature, UCLA Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies, Near Eastern Languages and Cultures