After introducing the Kerala Jews, their history and culture in South India for more thana millennia, and their community life since migrating to Israel, Johnson will offer a fewhighlights from her research and her own ethnographic practice over the past 40 years.Topics include collaborative research, changing views of gender and caste, and the joys ofresearch on their vernacular women’s folk songs.
About Barbara Johnson, Emerita Professor of Anthropology, Ithaca College
Upon completing her B.A. in history at Oberlin College, Barbara Johnson lived and taught in South India for four years duringthe 1960s, before beginning academic research on the Kerala Jews leading to her M.A. in religion (Smith College) and Ph.D.inanthropology (University of Massachusetts). Since 1972 shehas made six trips back to India and twenty to Israel (including two years of residence) for ethnographic fieldwork with their community in both places. Johnson’s publications include Oh Lovely Parrot!: Jewish Women’s Songs from Kerala (Book & CD: Jewish Music Research Center, Jersualem, 2004);Ruby of Cochin: An Indian Jewish Woman Remembers (co-authored with Ruby Daniel:Jewish Publication Society, 1995); and many scholarly articles. She is currently a Visiting Scholar in the South Asia Program at Cornell University.