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The Afterlives of Publishing: Christian Texts for Indian Jewish Song

Event poster
Date and Time: 
Thursday, May 7, 2015. 05:00 PM - 07:00 PM
Meeting Location: 
Stanford Humanities Center, Board Room
Workshop: 
Oral Literature and Literate Orality
Meeting Description: 

When Bene Israel women perform Marathi Jewish songs, they sing from handwritten notebooks of song texts learned from mothers, aunts, and friends. These songs were transmitted orally and transcribed from memories of Jewish performance, but many have origins that are neither oral nor Jewish. Central to the repertories of Bene Israel women today are Psalms in Marathi meters, composed by Christian missionaries and published in the early nineteenth century. Anna Shultz will consider how Hindu devotional song practice colored these Christian texts, and how they have been re-oralized and re-textualized by Bene Israel women to bolster their Jewish knowledge, generate new forms of sociability, and articulate Bene Israel identities in changing contexts of nationalism and migration.

About the speaker:

Anna Shultz is an assistant professor in Stanford's Department of Music. Her special fields include music of South Asia, music and nationalism, music and religious experience, Indo-Caribbean music, diaspora and migration, music transmission, Hindi film music, Jewish music in India, and country and bluegrass music. Her new research is on gender and minority identity in the paraliturgical music of the Bene Israel (Marathi-speaking Jews) of India and Israel.

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