2019 Tova Yedlin Lecture: The Ghetto Mother Stereotype – March 7 at UAlberta

(EJNews) – The Annual Tova Yedlin Lecture will be held on March 7, 2019 from 4-5 pm at the Humanities Centre, Lecture Theatre 1 at the University of Alberta. It will feature keynote speaker Brygida Gasztold and the topic of her lecture will be “The Ghetto Mother Stereotype in Cultural Imagination.”

This is the first Tova Yedlin Lecture since Tova Yedlin z”l passed away in September 2017. Her daughter Deborah Yedlin, the Chancellor of the University of Calgary will be in attendance during the lecture.

Brygida Gasztold is an Associate Professor at the Department of Humanities, Koszalin University of Technology, Poland. She is highly regarded for her research in American immigrant literature, Jewish American literature, ethnic literatures, gender studies.

Given the historical proximity of Polish and Jewish groups, Gasztold’s research identifies and explores their mutual interconnectedness. One such example is the stereotypical Jewish Mother, in Israel known as a “Polish woman,” both in its sociohistorical and cultural aspect. Drawing from the theory of gendered and stereotypical representations, Gasztold traces a changing portrayal of the Jewish Mother on her way from the ghetto penury to middle-class affluence.

The Tova Yedlin Lecture Series of the Wirth Institute for Austrian and Central European Studies is made possible by funds donated by Mrs. Deborah D. Yedlin and Mr. Martin P. Molyneaux. Endowed in November 2007, the purpose of the series is to present an annual lecture by a prominent scholar on the history of Central and East European Jewry prior to the Holocaust.

Dr. Tova Yedlin z”l was a long-time professor at the University of Alberta in what was then the Department of Slavic and East European Studies. Born in the city of Równe in the Wołyń Voivodeship of inter-war Poland (now Rivne, Ukraine), she graduated with distinction from the Tadeusz Kościuszko State Gymnasium-Lyceum in 1939. Evacuated to the Volga region of the Soviet Union after the German invasion of 1941, she escaped the mass-murder of Jews that took place there in 1941 and 1942, and immigrated to Canada after the war in 1948. Moving to Edmonton in 1950 she earned a B.Ed. (1956), an M.A. (1959) and a Ph.D. (1969) from the University of Alberta, where she subsequently taught Russian literature and social and intellectual history until her retirement in 1996. Her principal work, published in 1999 is a political biography of the Russian author, Maxim Gorky. Following her retirement she was actively engaged in building and supervising the Moshe Yedlin Memorial Library on Jewish Studies at the Beth Shalom Synagogue in Edmonton.

The endowment that supports the Tova Yedlin Lecture Series was set up by Dr. Yedlin’s daughter, Deborah and her husband, Martin Molyneaux, to honour their mother’s many years of service to the University of Alberta, and her contributions to East European scholarship. Upon the advice of their mother, the endowment was placed with the Wirth Institute for Austrian and Central European Studies, as the scholarly unit at the University of Alberta best positioned to organize and host the annual lecture.

The Tova Yedlin Lecture Series focuses on the history of Central and East European Jewry prior to the Holocaust, with particular emphasis on Jewish-Gentile relations, primarily in the period from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries.

Click here for more information about the March 7th lecture; it is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.


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