Davis Center: How did Jewish Women Gain Cultural Capital in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth?


Wednesday, February 15, 2017, 4:15pm to 6:00pm


CGIS South, S-250, 1730 Cambridge Street, Cambridge


Throughout western history women have been assigned a status as cultural observers and social facilitators to men's roles as cultural performers and social actors. This status, however, was not fixed and cultural-social gender barriers could be crossed and moved. Authority in the family, responsibilities in the public sphere, communal activism, economic productivity, education, ritual religious roles, literary and artistic creativity were all forms of cultural capital which could position women at intersections of power and privilege and challenge gender hierarchies. This talk will explore the test case of Jewish women in the early modern Polish context. How did their status in culture change over time? How did those changes affect gender templates? What was the relationship between cultural participation and social power?  

Moshe Rosman, professor in the Koschitzky Department of Jewish History of Bar Ilan University in Israel and Fellow at the Israel Institute for Advanced Study in Jerusalem, was born in Chicago. He has been a visiting professor at Yale, Michigan, Leipzig, Wroclaw and other universities. Professor Rosman has conducted extensive research in Polish and Ukrainian archives and specializes in integrating Jewish and non-Jewish sources. His prize-winning books include The Lords' Jews: Jews and Magnates in the Polish-Lithuanian CommonwealthFounder of Hasidism: A Quest for the Historical Ba’al Shem Tov and How Jewish Is Jewish History? His latest research project is a history of Jewish women in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.


Moshe Rosman, Professor, Koschitzky Department of Jewish History, Bar Ilan University, Israel; Fellow, Israel Institute for Advanced Study, Jerusalem

Cosponsored by the Center for Jewish Studies, Harvard University and the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies.

For more information, please call 617-495-4037.