Distinguished Faculty Lecture 2018

December 15, 2017

It is with great pleasure that I announce that this year’s Distinguished Faculty Lecture will be given by Frances Malino, the Sophia Moses Robison Professor of Jewish Studies and History. Professor Malino, an authority on Jewish and European history and the inaugural chair of the Jewish Studies program at Wellesley, will present “Jewish Voices: Muslim Lands” on April 4. Please enjoy lunch at noon in the Davis Museum lobby and join us afterward for her lecture, beginning at 12:30 p.m. in Collins Cinema.

Professor Malino’s Distinguished Faculty Lecture will be the culminating event in a series of three lectures this spring that celebrate the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the chair in Jewish Studies at Wellesley. Professor Malino was appointed to that position in 1989. In commemorating this important milestone, the College also honors the many Jewish alumnae and faculty who saw a real need for the endowment of the chair and who so generously funded and supported it.

The series includes two lectures co-sponsored by the Jewish Studies program in addition to Professor Malino’s lecture. Together, they will provide rich global and historical perspectives on the lives of Jewish people and their contributions to the world; the trauma Jews have faced; and their resilience in the face of adversity. Complete details can be found below.

Collectively, these lectures demonstrate the College’s deep appreciation for the many ways Professor Malino has contributed significantly—and with excellence—to the development of the Jewish Studies program, the field of Jewish studies generally, and Wellesley’s contributions to that field.

The author and co-editor of eight books, Professor Malino is an internationally celebrated scholar. In 2012, the French government named her a Chevalier of the Ordre des Palmes Académiques in recognition of her outstanding academic research and instruction in French history, particularly her career-spanning study of Jewish history in France.

At Wellesley, Professor Malino has taught generations of students about the experience of Jews within a larger historical context, with courses that look back as far as the medieval era. Her seminars have focused on anti-Semitism in historical perspective as well as the construction and evolution of Jewish identity around the globe.

Professor Malino’s vision and dedication led Wellesley to partner with the nonprofit organization Digital Heritage Mapping to create an initiative called Diarna (“our homes” in Judeo Arabic). Diarna is a multinational and interfaith collaboration of scholars, experts, and artists who travel the world and map virtual common ground. They visit historical sites, collect archival and contemporary photographs and films, interview elderly community residents, and more, and they share the material in myriad educational formats. Under Professor Malino’s guidance, many Wellesley students and recent alumnae have been active in all aspects of the Diarna project, including traveling to cities in North Africa and the Middle East.

In her lecture, she will reflect on the history of the Jewish Studies program at Wellesley as well as discuss her most recent research, which has uncovered thousands of letters from Jewish women who lived in the early 20th century. She will explore the complex and inspiring lives of these young Jewish women who traveled to France to train in schools and then returned to North Africa and the Middle East to teach. Her presentation will incorporate multimedia content, including satellite imagery, immersive panoramas, and architectural reconstructions, with a virtual tour of Jewish sites in North Africa and the Middle East.

Sponsored by the President’s Office, the Distinguished Faculty Lecture was established in 1999 to allow the College’s accomplished and respected faculty members to deliver public lectures that invite the community to reflect on the meaning of a liberal arts education.

I look forward to seeing you there.


“Now You Are My Home”: European Jewish Brides in the U.S., Canada, and Britain
Thursday, February 22, 5:30 p.m.

This lecture, presented by Associate Professor of History Robin Judd ’90 of the Ohio State University, will follow European and North African Jewish women who, after marrying British, American, and Canadian soldiers (circa World War II), followed their military spouses to their home countries. How were these women received by the families of their new husbands? By the American, Canadian, and British Jewish communities? What did their processes of acculturation look like? Professor Judd will tell a compelling transnational story of politics, family, desire, identity, and community in the wake of extraordinary violence and trauma. Judd was one of Professor Malino’s first mentees at Wellesley. This event is co-sponsored by the Department of History.

On Translating Elena Ferrante and Primo Levi
Thursday, March 15, 5:30 p.m.

Ann Goldstein, renowned translator and an editor at the New Yorker, will talk about her translation of Elena Ferrante’s “Neapolitan Quartet” and a three-volume publication of Primo Levi’s complete works (2015) that she edited and in part also translated. Following the lecture, a roundtable discussion on translation will take place with Goldstein; Larry Rosenwald, Anne Pierce Rogers Professor of American Literature and professor of English at Wellesley; and Claudia Rosenzweig-Kupfer, Professor in the Joseph and Norman Berman Department of Literature of the Jewish People at Bar-Ilan University, Israel. This event is co-sponsored by the Department of Italian Studies.

Distinguished Faculty Lecture: Jewish Voices: Muslim Lands
Wednesday, April 4, 12:30 p.m.

Drawing from thousands of letters rescued at the end of World War II, Frances Malino, the Sophia Moses Robison Professor of Jewish Studies and History, will explore the lives of Jewish women teaching in a network of schools extending from Tetuan, Morocco, to Teheran, Iran. Her presentation will begin with film clips from the inauguration of the chair in Jewish Studies at Wellesley College almost 30 years ago and conclude, using satellite imagery, immersive panoramas, and architectural reconstructions, with a virtual tour of Jewish sites in North Africa and the Middle East.