December 18, 2017

Topic of the Week: Liwerant Wins 2017 Marshall Sklare Award

By Dalia Wassner

Dr. Judit Bokser Liwerant, professor of political science at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, and member of the HBI Board of Advisors, made history this year by becoming the first Latin American scholar to be awarded the Marshall Sklare Award. She will accept this award at the upcoming Association of Jewish Studies meeting in Washington D.C., December 17–19. The honor is given annually by the Association for the Social Scientific Study of Jewry to a senior scholar who has made a significant scholarly contribution to the social scientific study of Jewry, primarily through the publication of a body of research in books and articles or of published work related to public policy. Some of Liwerant’s best known publications include Pertenencia y alteridad. Judíos en/de América Latina (Spanish Edition), coauthored with Haim Avni, and Reconsidering Israel-Diaspora Relations (Jewish Identities in a Changing World), co-edited with Eliezer Ben-Rafael and Yosef Gorny as well as numerous articles.

Liwerant’s work has been broadly recognized as groundbreaking in its interdisciplinary scope, focused not only on Mexico, but more broadly on Latin America. Dr. Liwerant approaches Latin American Jewry as much in terms of local social, cultural, and political definitions as in terms of transnational systems of identity, including Diaspora-Israel relations. She noted, upon learning of her selection, “In the world, there is a great ethnocultural diversity, there is not one singular way to be a Mexican. I am Argentinean, I am Jewish, I am Mexican.”

Liwerant has observed that there remains a societal prejudice against Jews in Mexico, connected to a historic, transnational dynamic of anti-Semitism. She thus understands the import of her award as celebrating research pertaining to the intersection between Jewish life and culture and Jews’ broader connections to contemporary societies.

I had the opportunity to work with Dr. Liwerant on the formation of a pioneering HBI initiative for the study and exploration of Jewish life and gender among Latin American Jewry, and was deeply honored that she agreed to join the Latin American Jewish Gender Studies Project Advisory Committee as a founding member. Her award reflects the growing importance of the field of Latin American Jewish studies within Jewish studies and the academy more broadly.

The HBI joins in the celebration of Dr. Judit Bokser Liwerant as she is named the 2017 Marshall Sklare Award winner.

Dalia Wassner is a research associate at HBI and a 2012 Scholar in Residence. She is the director of the initiative to create a Project in Latin American Jewish Gender Studies at HBI.

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