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ITHACA, N.Y. — MacArthur “genius” award winner Ruth Behar will discuss belonging, meaning, and Jewish identity on Friday, Oct. 30 at Cornell. Her talk, “My Jewish Journeys in Spain, Cuba, and Academia,” will take a personal, self-questioning approach to Jewish identity and ethnography.

She will examine the relationship between Sephardic Jews and Spain, the role of American Jews in the revitalization of the Jewish community in Cuba, and her experiences as a Jewish Latina poet and writer in academia. The talk will be held in Rm. 165, McGraw Hall, at 3:30 pm, and is free and open to the public.

A writer and cultural anthropologist, Behar has lived and worked in Spain, Mexico, and Cuba. She is known for her humanistic approach to understanding identity, immigration, and the search for home in our global era. Behar is the author of The Presence of the Past in a Spanish Village; Translated Woman: Crossing the Border with Esperanza’s Story; and The Vulnerable Observer: Anthropology That Breaks Your Heart. She frequently visits and writes about her native Cuba and is the author of An Island Called Home: Returning to Jewish Cuba and Traveling Heavy: A Memoir in between Journeys.

Behar was born in Havana, Cuba, and grew up in New York. She has a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from Princeton University and is now a professor of anthropology at the University of Michigan. She is also affiliated with University of Michigan programs in Women’s Studies, Latina/Latino Studies, and Latin American and Caribbean Studies.

Behar’s talk is hosted by the Cornell University Department of Anthropology and co-sponsored by the Jewish Studies, Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Latina/o Studies, and Latin American Studies Programs.

Event details are available at:

From Behar’s page: Her honors include a MacArthur “Genius” Award, a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, a Fulbright Senior Fellowship, and a Distinguished Alumna Award from Wesleyan University. She has received an Excellence in Education Award and a D’Arms Faculty Award for Distinguished Graduate Mentoring in the Humanities, both from the University of Michigan. She is also the recipient of a Breaking the Glass Ceiling Award from the Jewish Museum of Florida and was awarded an honorary doctorate in Humane Letters from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.

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Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.