Page 119 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 46

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ELKIN / RECENT SCHOLARSHIP ON LATIN AMERICAN JEWS
111
RECENT DEVELOPMENTS
Why th en th e re c e n t flow e ring o f re se a rch by qua lified scho l­
ars? T h e p re s e n t effe rvescence seems to flow from several u n ­
re la ted c u r re n ts in in te rn a t io n a l academ ic life: the increased
salience o f e thn ic stud ies in th e U n ited States, which began with
th e leg itim a tion o f black stud ies an d p ro c e ed ed to th e acc red ­
ita tion o f Jew ish stud ies p rog ram s ; th e em e rg en ce o f s trong
cen te rs fo r Jew ish stud ies in Israel, especially the In s titu te fo r
the S tudy o f C o n tem p o ra ry Jew ry a t H eb rew University; the
en h an c ed sensitivity o f La tin Am erican ists to th e ex istence o f
“u n k n ow n ” enclaves in th e ir m en ta l images o f the con tinen t .
U n fo r tu n a te ly , we m u s t also ad d the “g lam o u r” factor: public
cogn izance o f anti-Sem itic activity, p rovoked by the pub lication
o f Ja cobo T im e rm a n ’s p r ison m em o ir
{Prisoner Without a Name,
Cell Without a Number,
New York: A lfred A. Knopf, 1981).
T h e fo u n d in g o f the Latin Am erican Jew ish S tudies Asso­
ciation (LAJSA) in 1982 p rov id ed a focus fo r the field, a n e t ­
work fo r con su lta tion , an d a fo rum fo r th e p re sen ta t io n o f r e ­
search . Its fo rm a tion b ro u g h t to ligh t re sea rch needs in this
area , an d b ro u g h t to g e th e r scholars qua lified to fill them .
LAJSA’s firs t re sea rch con fe ren ce focused on b ib liog raph ic
prob lem s , lead ing to pub lica tion o f
Resources in Latin American
Jewish Studies
(LAJSA, A nn A rbo r , MI 1984), which con tains
essays on using Jew ish re fe re n ce sources fo r the study o f Latin
Am erican Jew ry , an d re levan t lib rary an d archival resou rces
in the U n ited States. P roceed ings o f LAJSA’s second resea rch
con fe rence , pub lished as
The Jewish Presence in Latin America
(eds. J u d i th Laikin Elkin an d G ilbert W. Merkx . W inchester,
MA: Allen & Unw in , 1987) rep re se n ts the c u r r e n t h igh w ater
m a rk in th e field, o f fe r in g ch ap te rs on imm ig ra tion , the Zionist
movem en t, educa tion , econom ic an d social mobility, LAJ w rit­
ers, and ideological anti-Sem itism in A rgen tina . Papers p r e ­
sen ted a t the th i rd re sea rch con fe rence , a lready pub lished in
un ed i ted fo rm (.
Proceedings
o f the N in th W orld Congress o f Jew ­
ish Stud ies, Division B, Vol. I l l , “H istory o f the Jew ish People,
M ode rn T im e s ,” J e ru s a lem , 1986) a re shortly to a p p e a r in ex ­
p an d ed pub lished version
(Studies in Latin American Jewry,
Je ru sa lem : C ana Pub lish ing House). T h e fact th a t m a jo r insti­
tu tions o f w o rldw ide rep u ta t io n , inc lud ing the Am erican Jew ish
Archives, Un iversity o f New Mexico, H eb rew Un iversity o f