It is with a heavy heart that we remember our beloved colleague Sharon Gillerman, who passed away on November 20, 2020. Sharon was one of the founding co-directors of the Casden Research Seminar, and devoted much of her time and energy to fostering conversations about scholarship in Jewish Studies across HUC-JIR and USC. We will miss her brilliant insights, her wry humor, and her dedication to creating intellectual community around a shared interest in the study of Jewish history and Judaism. May her memory be for a blessing/ zikhronah li-vrakha.

The Casden Faculty and Graduate Student Research Seminar brings together scholars to discuss their works in progress on topics in the field of Jewish Studies.  We aim to create a community of faculty and graduate students who are interested in Jewish Studies from a variety of disciplinary angles (history, literature, religion, sociology, etc.) from USC, HUC, and other academic institutions in Southern California.  Please contact the chairs (Jessica Marglin: marglin@usc.eduBruce Phillips:, and Kristine Garroway: if you have any questions, or feel free to sign up to receive emails about meetings below.

Upcoming Events:

“Polish Jewish Masculinities in the Early 20th Century”

Date: Wednesday, April 17th
Time: 12 PM – 1:15 PM
Location: Hebrew Union College – Room 101

Featuring: Mariusz Kałczewiak, Ph.D. is a historian of Modern Jewish History and Alexander von Humboldt Fellow at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Before coming to USC, he worked at the University of Potsdam, Germany and at the University of Warsaw, Poland. He holds PhD in history from Tel Aviv University (2017). His research focuses on modern Jewish history in Eastern Europe and the Americas, historical Migration Studies and historical Gender Studies. Mariusz’s first book “Polacos in Argentina. Polish Jews, Interwar Migration, and the Emergence of Transatlantic Jewish Culture” appeared in 2020 with Alabama University Press and won the 2020 Best Book Award of Latin American Jewish Studies Association. His second book “Man of Valor and Anxiety. Polish-Jewish Masculinities and the Challenge of Modernity” is now under review at Indiana University Press. Mariusz held fellowships at Brandeis University, University of Florida and POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews.

Fall 2022 Series – Past Events

Exiled from the Promised Land: A Curious Case of Polish/Israeli Writer Leo Lipski*

*Previously titled “Excrements of Modernity: The Scatology of Leo Lipski”

Featuring Andrzej Brylak, Postdoctoral Scholar of Polish Studies in the USC Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures

Andrzej Brylak is a Postdoctoral Scholar in Polish Studies at the USC Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures.  His primary field of research is Polish and Eastern European modernity, especially in the post-WW2 context. He is currently working on a book titled “Leo Lipski: Expression, Excrement, Existence” in which he examines the prose of the Polish/Israeli writer whose postwar subject turns the main mode of existence from the disintegrated carnality to reconstructed textuality. Andrzej Brylak’s research focuses on Interwar Poland, Stalinist Gulag, and Modern Israel and employs discourses such as biopolitics, Jewish and Christian theology, disability studies, and psychoanalysis. He is also interested in Polish and Eastern European modernization projects and their representations in film, theater, and architecture. 

Date: Wednesday, October 26th, 2022

Time: 3:30pm-5:00pm

Location: Hebrew Union College-Room 031

The Shamama Case: Contesting Citizenship across the Modern Mediterranean

How a nineteenth-century lawsuit over the estate of a wealthy Tunisian Jew shines new light on the history of belonging

In the winter of 1873, Nissim Shamama, a wealthy Jew from Tunisia, died suddenly in his palazzo in Livorno, Italy. His passing initiated a fierce lawsuit over his large estate. Before Shamama’s riches could be disbursed among his aspiring heirs, Italian courts had to decide which law to apply to his estate—a matter that depended on his nationality. Was he an Italian citizen? A subject of the Bey of Tunis? Had he become stateless? Or was his Jewishness also his nationality? Tracing a decade-long legal battle involving Jews, Muslims, and Christians from both sides of the Mediterranean, The Shamama Case offers a riveting history of citizenship across regional, cultural, and political borders.

Featuring Professor Jessica Marglin, USC School of ReligionDate: Wednesday, November 30th, 2022

Time: 12pm-1PM

Location: USC Gould School of Law Faculty Lounge