Dr. Tamar Sella named second new Samuel W. and Goldye Marian Spain Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Tamar Sella joins Rice Jewish Studies

Dr. Tamar Sella

The Program in Jewish Studies at Rice University is pleased to announce that Dr. Tamar Sella will be joining our faculty this summer as the second new Samuel W. and Goldye Marian Spain Postdoctoral Fellow.

Dr. Sella received her Ph.D. in music from Harvard University in 2020. Her scholarship is interdisciplinary, situated at the intersections of ethnomusicology, performance studies, feminist and queer theory, and Jewish history, and informed by her family history and life experiences. Dr. Sella grew up living in both Israel and the United States, and her ancestral lineage includes both Eastern European and Yemeni Jewish roots. With a focus on Mizrahi Jewish cultural production in Israel/Palestine, Dr. Sella’s research examines contemporary performance across a variety of media, including music, dance, and film, in relation to themes of race, gender, decoloniality, migration and diaspora across the global south.

My dissertation, Resonant Ancestors: Arab Jewish Memory on the Israeli Stage, explored the negotiations of occluded Arab Jewish ancestral memories in contemporary performance by Mizrahi artists in Israel/Palestine toward articulating and reimagining alternative futures,” Dr. Sella explains.

As part of her commitment to public scholarship, Dr. Sella has contributed to the Society for Ethnomusicology’s U.S.-wide digital archive project “Musicians in America during the Covid-19 Pandemic” (https://semmusicianscovid.com), and was featured on the Jewish Women’s Archive podcast Can We Talk? (https://jwa.org/podcasts/canwetalk/episode-59-zohra-el-fassia).

Together with Dr. Daniella Farah, who will also begin a Spain Postdoctoral Fellowship at Rice this summer, the Program in Jewish Studies is excited to add two extremely talented scholars whose expertise on Jewish life and culture in the Middle East will enrich our students and benefit the wider Houston community.

“We have never had two postdoctoral fellows at the same time,” says Matthias Henze, the Isla Carroll and Percy E. Turner Professor of Hebrew Bible and director of Rice’s Program in Jewish Studies. “We are so very fortunate that Tamar will join us this Fall. Her work in ethnomusicology, that cuts across multiple disciplines and builds bridges between the academic side of Jewish Studies and our multiple engagements with the broader communities, is incredibly exciting. I couldn’t be more pleased.”