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Culture in Exile: Sephardic Legacy in Bosnia and Herzegovina


Dr. Aleksandra Bunčić, Fishman Family Scholar at Vassar and Visiting Scholar at the Committee on Medieval Studies at Harvard University, will explore little-known aspects of the cultural history of the Sephardi Jews of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Following the forced migration resulting from the expulsion from Spain in 1492, many Sephardim settled in parts of the Ottoman Empire, including the areas that today comprise Bosnia and Herzegovina. These Jews are an understudied community that persisted under the domination of two empires, world wars, civil wars, and the trials and traumas of post-war Bosnian society. Dr. Bunčić will consider the Sephardi “refugee repertoire”—architecture, literature, art and music—illuminating the cultural legacy of Bosnian Sephardim as a distinctive but interdependent strand in the rich tapestry of Christian, Muslim, and Jewish traditions that constitute Bosnian culture.

Dr. Aleksandra Bunčić earned the PhD in the Department of Art History at the University of Zagreb for her research on a fourteenth-century Spanish illuminated manuscript produced for Jews known as the Sarajevo Haggadah. Her award-winning scholarship has been recognized with fellowships and residencies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Duke University as well as Rutgers University, where her work was supported by the Fulbright Foundation. Dr. Bunčić was a postdoctoral fellow in the Departments for Art History and Folklore at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and a Starr Fellow in Judaic Studies at Harvard University, where she is currently a Visiting Scholar at the Committee on Medieval Studies.

This is the annual Fishman Family endowed Lecture sponsored by the Program of Jewish Studies.

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