This week, the Center for Jewish Civilization’s Professor Jessica Roda presided over her proseseminar’s trip to the Polish Embassy. The class, entitled “Music, Politics, and International Relations,” discussed music diplomacy in Poland and the revival of Yiddish Polish Tango with Olga Avigail Mieleszczuk and her musicians. Mieleszczuk, a singer and researcher of Eastern European musical folklore, has previously stated that “Most of the artists, who invented a world-class, high-quality tango music in Poland, perished in the Holocaust. I have a mission to keep their legacy alive.” Professor Roda’s proseminar is one of many CJC courses which probe the exciting intersection between culture, politics, and international relations, and offers a window into the CJC’s rich interdisciplinary character.
About CJC Professor Jessica Roda
Jessica Roda is the Assistant Director of the Center for Jewish Civilization. She joined the CJC in the fall of 2018 as an Assistant Professor of Jewish Civilization. She is an anthropologist and ethnomusicologist trained in European and North American schools and has published several peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, and a monograph (Se réinventer au present. Les Judéo-espagnols de France, 2018, Presses Universitaires de Rennes) on the political implications of Sephardic and Arab-Jewish music in France, Spain, and Morocco. Dr. Roda is currently working on a second manuscript based on her ethnography of Hasidic life in Montreal and New York City (Performing Hasidicness. Ultra-Orthodox Jews on Stage and on Screen in North America).
About the Proseminar
The 21st century Internet has democratized the circulation of ideas within and beyond the nation-state. In this context, music serves as a means of both alternative ideas and a reinforcement of the established order. International organizations, government actors, NGOs, artists, and a range of activists (from religious to social) have invested in music for their own political, social, and economic ends. This proseminar will focus on music as a way to reflect on politics and international affairs in the 21st century via issues such as globalization, cultural diplomacy, conflict resolution, community building, social movements, national hegemony and protectionism.