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Impure Migration: Jews and Sex Work in Golden Age Argentina
May 11, 2021
Sponsored by the UCLA Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies
Mir Yarfitz (Wake Forest) with Ellen DuBois (UCLA)
Impure Migration: Jews and Sex Work in Golden Age Argentina was published in 2019 in the Rutgers University Press Jewish Cultures of the World series. The book examines discourses and practices of organized Jewish “sex traffickers” who moved between Eastern Europe and South America between the 1890s and 1930s. Based on transatlantic archives including the Yiddish press, undercover League of Nations’ investigations, police records, and varied cultural production, the project moves beyond a binary of exploiters and victims. Central questions resonate with today’s news: the criminalization of migrants and responsive mobility strategies; contested Jewish racialization; and the complexities of choice and agency for those on the social margins.
Mir Yarfitz is an Associate Professor in the Department of History at Wake Forest University and the Director of the Jewish Studies Program. His teaching and scholarship bridge Latin American History, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and Jewish History. His current research explores expert and popular constructions of gender variance in Argentina and transnationally in the first decades of the twentieth century, before the consolidation of modern gay and trans identity categories.