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Centrum für Jüdische Studien




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Cultural Mobility and the Field of Jewish Literature in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Damir ¦abotic (Petra-Ernst-Fellow for Jewish Studies)

Wednesday, June 2, 2021 5.00 pm (online)

Please register under: office.cjs(at)

Transcultural communication and cultural mobility have been crucial for the overall social revitalization of the Sephardic community since the end of the 19th century when Ashkenazim came to Bosnia and Herzegovina, and especially between the two world wars when the cultural and national revival of Bosnian Jews reached its peak.

Different models of cultural mobility are manifested in the interaction of different mobilizers, as Stephen Greenblatt calls them - agents, translators, mediators - who facilitate intercultural dialogue, create contact zones where cultural goods are exchanged. Thus, in the late 1920s and early 1930s the Spanish avant-garde writer Ernesto Gimenez Caballero, then editor of Madrid’s most important avant-garde magazine La Gazeta Literaria, undertook a fashion and cultural mission among Balkan Jews. This type of cultural transmission also shaped the structure of the field of Jewish literature. Kalmi Baruh, a young Sephardic philologist and Hispanist with a doctorate from the University of Vienna, described Caballero’s visit as a first-class cultural event and idealized a new era for the Sephardim of the Balkans.

Damir ¦abotic was born on 2nd March 1978 in Belgrade. He graduated from the Department of Philosophy in Sarajevo and is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Graz. He works on the topic of Bosnian Jews’ cultural identity between the two world wars and researches Jewish literary and cultural production in the Jewish newspapers of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which played a crucial role in creating a national self-consciousness and in establishing the field of Jewish literature as an important part of regional cultural production.

¦abotic published the poetry collection Privatna svetili¨ta (Sarajevo, 2006), short stories Zazivac meleka (Sarajevo 2008) and the novel Nadi me (Sarajevo, 2013), which was nominated for the European Union Prize for Literature in 2016. Furthermore, he has published essays on Bosnian literature.

He lives in Sarajevo.

Centrum für Jüdische Studien Mag. Beate Konecky +43 (0)316 380 - 3927

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