The winner of the John O. Iatrides Dissertation Prize for 2019 is Dr. Constanze Kolbe for her dissertation Crossing Regions, Nations, Empires. The Jews of Corfu and the Making of a Jewish Adriatic, 1850-1914.
The dissertation was submitted at Indiana University in 2017 and the doctoral committee was composed of Dr. Matthias B Lehmann and Dr. Mirjam Zadoff (co-chairs), Roberta Pergher, Mark Roseman, and Kaya Sahin. Dr. Kolbe examines the way Corfiote Jews created a transnational network in the Adriatic, focusing on Jewish publishing and mercantile networks that spread not only throughout the Mediterranean but also in Eastern Europe. Her work also examines the use of philanthropy by Jewish merchants to retain close ties to their island of origin. Dr. Kolbe’s work shows how such transnational networks could emerge bringing together Rabbis, publishers and merchants, creating ties between Jews, Orthodox and Catholic Christians, Corfiotes, Austrians, and Italians, and at the same time forging a distinct Jewish space. It also shows such networks collapsed especially after the 1891 Blood Libel riots in Corfu when thousands of Jews migrated to other parts of the Adriatic and beyond. The dissertation challenges established notions of national categories, is thoroughly researched incorporating an impressive number of archives from Greece, Italy, Albania, France, and the United Kingdom, and is a significant addition to a developing body of work on the Mediterranean and transnational networks as well as to Greek and Jewish history.
The John O. Iatrides Dissertation Prize Committee was composed of Dr. Evdoxios Doxiadis (chair), Dr. Harry Karahalios, and Dr. Kostis Karpozilos and the decision to award the prize to Dr. Kolbe was unanimous.
The award ceremony will take place at the Modern Greek Studies Association Symposium in Sacramento on the evening of 7 November 2019.