Conference Satires in Jewish languages (Judeo-Spanish, Yiddish) in contemporary times (19th-21st cc.): confronting the crises of the modern Jewish world through laughter

The department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies at the INALCO in Paris publishes a call for papers for a one-day conference which will take place on Thursday June 15th, 2017 and will deal with the theme: “Satires in Jewish languages (Judeo-Spanish, Yiddish) in contemporary times (19th-21st cc.): confronting the crises of the modern Jewish world through laughter.”

Conference presentation:

Satire, as a literary device combining realism and social criticism, has been an essential mode of expression for vernacular Jewish languages (in prose, in poetry, or on stage) to confront the radical transformations both Ashkenazi and Sephardi populations have gone through since the 19th century.

This one-day conference aims at creating new bonds between researchers studying Judeo-Spanish and Yiddish languages in order to analyze both the similarities and differences in the uses of satire within vernacular tongues traditionally considered as minor and associated with the private sphere. The development of periodicals and the opening of these popular languages to new fields (science, politics, belles-lettres) favored the appearance of a critical and comical literature which played on the discrepancy between the traditional world, which was reflected in the very fabric of the language, and the new social realities brought by modernity: industrialization, new ideologies (Socialism, Zionism, etc.), evolutions in religiosity (secularism, assimilation, etc.). Paper proposals may deal with the following themes and issues (the list is non-exhaustive):

-           Place of satire in the development of a modern literature;

-           Modes of expression and forms of satire (theater, songs, press articles, etc.);

-           History of satirical newspapers, space dedicated to satire in the written press;

-           Emergence of professional writers of satires, their ideologies and careers;

-           Invention of a satirical language and the use of similar literary devices (parody, pastiche, pamphlets, epigrams);

-           The exploitation of linguistic peculiarities of Jewish languages (components of various origins, orality, formulaic phrases, etc.) in satirical writings.

Practical information:

Researchers traveling from abroad can apply for a grant to cover some of their expenses.

Paper proposals for the conference (400 words) may pertain to the fields of cultural, literary or linguistic studies and should be sent by February 15th, 2017 to the following email addresses:

For Judeo-Spanish: Marie-Christine Borne-Varol,

For Yiddish: Arnaud Bikard,

15 June 2017