Exploring Jewish Life in Uruguay and the Importance of Stories with Dr. Teresa Porzecanski

Fulbright Forward - A Diversity Podcast

06-06-2022 • 42 Min.

On today’s podcast we feature esteemed Jewish Uruguayan Anthropologist, teacher, fiction author, and Fulbright alumna, Dr. Teresa Porzecanski. During today’s episode, Dr. Porzecanski and Fulbright WHA D&I Liaison, Jeremy Gombin-Sperling talk about her history of anthropological work in Uruguay on the Uruguayan Jewish population. In tracing this genealogy, we learn about Dr. Porzecanski’s efforts to preserve and conserve the stories of many Uruguayan Jews through her qualitative research, and the impact it had. This discussion also led us into reflecting on the nation-state as a concept, how nations build narratives to advance certain goals often at the cost of those most marginalized by it. Finally, we talk about Dr. Porzecanski’s career as a writer of novels and how her work as a Jewish academic and a writer have informed each other.

What becomes clear in this conversation is that academic research can have a social consciousness. The stories we gather through research can do more than just preserve the diverse histories of communities and people; the sharing of stories are a mode to shift consciousness, to reevaluate much of what many of us thought to be true, to better realize the complexities of those around us and those who lived before us.

Books referenced by Dr. Porzecanski:

  1. Historias de vida de inmigrantes judíos al Uruguay

  2. Historias de vida: negros en el Uruguay