Profile Picture
Mir Yarfitz
Associate Professor

Phone: 336.758.2580
Office: Tribble B-114
Email: yarfitmh@wfu.edu

Bio

Mir Yarfitz has lived in each of the four corners of the country as well as South and Central America. His enthusiasm for Latin America grew from his college study abroad experience in Nicaragua, a Fulbright in Argentina, and work with migrant farmworker labor unions in Washington, Oregon, and Georgia. Teaching and research interests include US-Latin American relations, cultural production, social movements, dictatorship and resistance, racial hierarchies, migration, gender, sexuality,  masculinity, and transgender studies. His 2019 Rutgers University Press book  Impure Migrations: Jews and Sex Work in Golden Age Argentina, historicizes immigrant Ashkenazi Jews in organized prostitution in Buenos Aires between the 1890s and 1930s and in broader transnational flows of sex workers and moral opposition.

CV

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Mir Yarfitz

Curriculum Vitae

EDUCATION

Ph.D., 2012

Department of History

University of California, Los Angeles

 

M.A., 2007

Department of History

University of California, Los Angeles

 

B.A., 2000

International and Comparative Policy Studies

Reed College

 

 

PROFESSIONAL APPOINTMENTS

 

Wake Forest University

Department of History

Associate Professor

2019-present

Assistant Professor

2013-2019

 

 

PUBLICATIONS

 

Books

 

2019 Impure Migration: Jews and Sex Work in Golden Age Argentina. Rutgers University Press, March 2019.

 

Manuscripts in Submission

 

In press “Marriage as Ruse, or Migration Strategy?: Mobility and Organized Jewish Sex Trafficking to Argentina, 1890s-1930s.” Requested by editor of special issue of Journal of American Jewish History, under peer review, submitted March 2018.

 

Manuscripts in Preparation

 

In prep. Book manuscript, “Dangerous Crossings: Transgender Narratives and Transnational Sexology in the Southern Cone, 1900-1930s.”

 

Book Chapters

 

2012 “Uprooting the Seeds of Evil: Ezras Noschim and Jewish Marriage Regulation, Morality Certificates, and Degenerate Prostitute Mothers in 1930s Buenos Aires.” In The New Jewish Argentina: Facets of Jewish Experiences in the Southern Cone, edited by Adriana Brodsky and Raanan Rein, 55-80. Leiden: Brill, 2012. Published in paperback 2014. Received the 2013 Latin American Jewish Studies Association Best Book Award.

 

2011 “Prosopografía proxeneta: Inmigración judía, socorros mutuos y comercio sexual en Argentina, 1906-1930,” in Marginados y consagrados: Nuevos estudios sobre los judios argentinos, edited by Emmanuel Kahan, Laura Schenquer, Damián Setton, and Alejandro Dujovne, 55-80. Buenos Aires: Ediciones Lumiere, 2011.

 

Conference Proceedings

 

2011 “Uprooting the Seeds of Evil: Jewish Marriage Regulation, Morality Certificates, and Degenerate Prostitute Mothers in 1930s Buenos Aires.” CSW Update: Special Issue on Thinking Gender 2011, 7-9. UCLA: Center for the Study of Women.

 

2009 “Caftens, Kurvehs, and Stille Chuppahs: Jewish Sex Workers and their Opponents in Buenos Aires, 1890-1930.” Conference proceedings from Symposium on Jewish Urban History in the Americas: A Comparative Look at Jewish Buenos Aires and Jewish Los Angeles, UCLA, February 8-9, 2009. Published online in Perush: An Online Journal of Jewish Scholarship and Interpretation 1, no. 2 (2009).

 

Encyclopedia Entries

 

2008 “Masculinity: Latin America.” In The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern World. Vol. 5. Edited by Peter Stearns, 74-76. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.

 

Web-Based Publications

 

2015 “‘The Age of Youth in Argentina,’ an Interview with Valeria Manzano.” Notches: (Re)marks on the History of Sexuality. November 3, 2015. http://notchesblog.com/2015/11/03/the-age-of-youth-in-argentina-an-interview-with-valeria-manzano/

 

Other Publications

 

2001 “Justicia Infinita.” Fulanas 2, no. 13 (Oct. 2001): 9-10.

 

2001 “Confesiones de una Des-generada.” Fulanas 1, no. 11 (2001): 7-8.

 

 

AWARDS, HONORS, GRANTS, AND FELLOWSHIPS

 

2019 Henry S. Stroupe Faculty Fellowship, Wake Forest University
2018 Archie Fund for the Arts and Humanities Award, Wake Forest University
2018 T-Cart Summer Course (Re)Design Award, Wake Forest University
2017 Humanities Institute Summer Writing Grant, Wake Forest University
2016-20 UK Arts and Humanities Research Council, member of research group
2015 Summer Research Award, Wake Forest College
2011 Mellon Fellowship for League of Nations Conference in Geneva
2010-            11 Graduate Division Dissertation Year Fellowship, UCLA
2009 Latin American Institute Tinker Field Research Grant, UCLA
2009 History Department Summer Travel Funding, UCLA
2006 Graduate Summer Research Mentorship Fellowship, UCLA
2005 Center for Jewish Studies Funding for Yiddish Study in Vilnius, UCLA
2004-05 Foreign Language Area Studies Fellowship, UCLA
2004 Graduate Summer Research Mentorship Fellowship, UCLA
2003-10 History Department Ph.D. Recruitment Fellowship, UCLA

 

2001 Fulbright Fellowship for research year in Buenos Aires, Argentina

 

 

INVITED TALKS

 

2019 “Becoming Bros: The History of Fraternity Masculinity,” Annual “Last Lecture” Speaker, Wake Forest University, September 25.

 

2019 “Antisemitism in History and the Age of Trump,” public lecture, Puget Ridge Co-housing, Seattle, January 4.

 

2017 “Multiple Yardsticks: Cultural and Historical Alternatives to Your Internal Masculinity Norms,” workshop leader at “Engaging Men in a Conversation about Interpersonal Violence,” Wake Forest University, April 11.

 

2017 “Making Usable Transgender History,” invited panelist on panel “Feminist Activism and Scholarship,” “Career Celebration of Distinguished Professor Ellen Carol Dubois,” UCLA, February 24-25.

 

2014 “‘The Habit Doesn’t Make the Monk’: Public Pornographies of Woman-Men in Buenos Aires, 1902-1930,” Critical Pornographies Symposium, NYU, May 1-2.

 

2001 “Queering the Mogan David: Notes Toward a Radical, Spiritual, Political Movement,” Phenomenology Lecture Series, University of Wisconsin at Lacrosse, February 22.

 

 

CONFERENCE PARTICIPATION

 

2019 “Mujer-Hombres as Hero(ine)s and Warnings: Inversion, Degeneration, and Popular Discourses of Proto-Transgendering in Early Twentieth-Century Argentina,” on panel “Queer and Trans Narratives of Selfhood in Europe, India, and Latin America,” Queer History Conference, San Francisco State University, June 16-18.

 

2019 “Tragic Inverts or Bold Women-Men?: Popular vs. Expert Responses to Crossdressing and Gender Bending in Early Twentieth-Century Argentina,” on panel “Jews, Maricas, and Other Marginal Subjects: Claiming ‘Argentinidad’ and Contesting Markers of Difference in Twentieth Century Argentina,” Latin American Studies Association Congress, Boston, May 24-27.

 

2018 “Mujer-Hombre” Beyond Transgender: Masculinity, Anti-Feminism, and Eros/Thanatos in the 1930 Buenos Aires Popular Press,” on panel “Intersex and Trans: Politics, Bodies, and Law,” Latin American Studies Association Congress, Barcelona, Spain, May 23-26.

 

2016 “Autopsy Room as Public Amphitheater: Necropornography of the Pre-Transgender Argentine Man-Woman,” on panel “(Dis)Forming Death: A Necropolitical Reading of Trans,” Trans*Studies: An International Transdisciplinary Conference on Gender, Embodiment, and Sexuality, University of Arizona, Tucson, September 7-10.

 

2016 “Wives or Victims?: Prostitution Narratives and Jewish Marriage as Migratory Strategy to Interwar Argentina,” on panel “Rethinking the Jewish Family in the Age of Mass Migration,” Biennial Scholars’ Conference on American Jewish History, Center for Jewish History, New York City, June 19-21.

 

2015 “White Slave Wives and Jewish Husbands on the Road to Buenos Aires: Jewish Marriage and Migration Strategies in the Interwar Sex Traffic Battles,” on panel “Marriage and Illicit Migration,” Conference on Trafficking, Smuggling, and Illicit Migration in Historical Perspective, Birkbeck, University of London, June 18-20.

 

2015 “Oral Pleasures, Neighbors’ Tongues: Stories of Transgendering Avant la Lettre in Buenos Aires, 1902-1930,” on panel “Whispers in the Archive: Rumor and Gossip as Primary Sources,” American Historical Association Congress, New York City, January 2-5.

 

2014 “Transgender Spectacles and the Modern Woman in Buenos Aires, 1902-1930,” on panel “Obscenidades: The Pornographic and the Profane in Latin America,” Berkshire Conference on the History of Women, Toronto, Canada, May 22-25.

 

2014 “Subjects and Objects in Latin American Transgender History,” on State of the Field Panel “Gender Frontiers,” Organization of American Historians Annual Meeting, Atlanta, GA, April 10-13.

 

2014 “Mujer-Hombres and Other Inverts: Pornographic Publicity about Two Tragic Man-Women in Buenos Aires, 1930,” on panel “Perversos e Degenerados: Mapping Transgression and Regimes of Permissibility in the Southern Cone,” American Historical Association Congress, Washington DC, Jan. 2-5.

 

2013 “The Fascination of the (Dead) Transgender Body: The Strange Case of Raul/Raquel Suarez, 1930,” on panel “Obscenidades: The Pornographic and the Profane in Latin America,” Latin American Studies Association Congress, Washington, DC, May 29 – June 1.

 

2012 “Mediators between Police and Prostitutes from Europe to Argentina: International Organizations and Local Authorities, 1890s-1930s,” on panel “Historias transnacionales: circuitos de vigilancia policial en América del Sur,” Latin American Studies Association Congress, San Francisco, May 23-26.

 

2011 “Uprooting the Seeds of Evil: Jewish Marriage Regulation, Morality Certificates, and Degenerate Prostitute Mothers in 1930s Buenos Aires,” Thinking Gender Conference, UCLA, February 11.

 

 

CAMPUS TALKS

 

2018 “Bad Jews in the Brothels of Buenos Aires: Transnational Sex Work and Immigrant Organization, 1890s-1930s,” Humanities Institute Summer Writing Grant Presentation, WFU, March 21.

 

2017 “Impure Migrations: Ashkenazi Jews Organize and Protest Prostitution in Golden Age Argentina,” Dean’s Office’s New Ideas Series, invited speaker, WFU, November 16.

 

2017 “Legacies of Civil War in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador,” student-invited speaker on panel “SHHine [sic] a Light on Central America,” WFU, November 6.

 

2017 “Multiple Yardsticks: Cultural and Historical Alternatives to Your Internal Masculinity Norms,” invited workshop leader at the Engaging Men Conference, WFU, April 11.

 

2014 “Dangerous Crossings: Transgender Narratives and the Modern Woman in Buenos Aires, 1902-1930,” The Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Colloquium Series, Wake Forest University, DeTamble Auditorium, March 25.

 

2010 “Latin America and the Cold War, 1945-1990: Recent Historiography,” Scholar-Teacher Workshop, UCLA History-Geography Project, April 22.

 

2009 “Pimps’ Mutual Aid Society: Argentine Jewish Sex Workers and their Opponents,” UCLA Center for Argentina, Chile and the Southern Cone Interdisciplinary Workshop, April 7.

 

2009 “Caftens, Kurvehs, and Stille Chuppahs: Jewish Sex Workers and their Opponents in Buenos Aires, 1890-1930,” Symposium on Jewish Urban History in the Americas: A Comparative Look at Jewish Buenos Aires and Jewish Los Angeles, UCLA, February 8-9.

 

 

TEACHING EXPERIENCE

 

Wake Forest University, Department of History

 

Prostitutes, Machos, and Travestis: Sexuality and Gender in Modern Latin American History (Seminar cross-listed with Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies: F16, F17)

 

Cuban Reinventions (Independent Study: F17)

 

Latin America’s Colonial Past (Intermediate: F13, F17)

 

The Americas and the World (Introductory: F13, S14, F14, S15, F15, F16, S17, S18, F18)

 

Modern Latin America (Intermediate: S14, F15, S18)

 

Jewish Migrations to the Americas (Seminar: S15)

 

 

University of California, Los Angeles, Department of History

 

Latin American Social History (Introductory: S13)

 

 

California State University, Long Beach, Department of History

 

History of Mexico (Seminar: S13)

 

The Latin American Nations (Intermediate: F12)

 

 

Mount St. Mary’s College, Los Angeles, M.A. in the Humanities Program

 

Critical Eras in Latin American/Caribbean History: Gender and Sexuality in the Twentieth Century (M.A. Seminar: F12)

 

 

SERVICE TO PROFESSION

 

2018- Peer Reviewer for Jewish Quarterly Review

 

2014-15 Member, John Boswell Prize and Joan Nestle Prize Committee, American Historical Association’s Committee on LGBT History

 

2013- Peer Reviewer for Radical History Review

 

 

UNIVERSITY SERVICE (WAKE FOREST UNIVERSITY)

 

2019- Student Movement for Immigration Justice, Faculty Advisor
2018- Gamma Omicron Chapter of Theta Chi Fraternity, Faculty Advisor
2017- Culture of Respect Campus Leadership Team, Faculty Representative
2017- Jewish Studies Advisory Board, Member
2016- Title IX Hearing Board Pool, Member
2015, 2018

 

Trans* Day of Remembrance Ceremony, Co-leader (invited by students)
2014-16 “Beyond Gay Day: Integrating Gender and Sexuality into Humanities Focused Teaching and Research,” Humanities Institute Faculty Seminar, Co-organizer
2014- Wake Forward, Gender and Sexuality Working Group, Founding Member
2014- Lower-Division Advisor (shifted from annual to bi-annual, 10-14 per year)
2014- Jewish Studies Minor, Program Member
2013-14 Elizabeth Phillips Award Committee, Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department, Member
2013- Latin American and Latino Studies Committee, Member

 

 

DEPARTMENTAL SERVICE (HISTORY, WAKE FOREST UNIVERSITY)

 

2018- Alumni and Professional Development Committee, Chair
2017-18 Alumni and Professional Development Committee, Member
2017- Major Advisor
2016-18 Chilton Pearson Research Prize in US History, Judge
2016-17 History Department Faculty Seminar, Organizer
2015 Search Committee, VAP in Southern History, Member
2014-15 Search Committee, Rubin Presidential Chair of Jewish History, Member
2013-16 Speaker Committee, History Department

 

 

LANGUAGES

 

Spanish (fluent, translation experience and published writing)

Yiddish (read proficiently)

French (read proficiently)

 

 

PROFESSIONAL MEMBERSHIPS

 

American Historical Association

American Jewish Studies Association

Association for Jewish Studies

Latin American Studies Association

 

Courses

  • HST 108 – The Americas and the World
    The historical narratives you learned in high school and at the movies are not the only true stories about the past. This course explores the history of North, South, and Central America with an emphasis on debunking historical myths. We will consider how and why multiple versions of past events get created, why some persist longer than others, and which we each find most convincing. Our myth-busting includes: Conquest; the French, British, and Spanish colonial empires; indigenous resistance; slavery and freedom; piracy; neo-imperialism; immigration; Revolutions; the Cold War; dictatorship; the Drug War. (CD, D)

 

  • HST 114  Gender and Sexuality in World History

We are not only students of history, but makers of history. In this laboratory-style class, we begin to develop the tools of professional historians, to dig up historical artifacts and make meaning out of them. In addition to digital exploration of online repositories, we visit archives to make new discoveries, and museums to consider how to present history to different audiences. Each of us will become experts in a particular discovered artifact, and together we create a collaborative online “open textbook” which places our artifacts into larger contexts and conversations. While these tools can be used in many fields, the central questions of this course illuminate gender and sexuality in nineteenth and twentieth century world history, across the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Europe, interrogating what happens to ideas about men, women, and sex when different cultural systems evolve and come into contact over time. Multiple genres of source and storytelling introduce women’s leadership and social movement, the development of gender norms and related social categories including masculinity, marriage, medical interpretations of the body, sex work, the consolidation of modern LGBTQ identities, and alternative systems of sexual and gender identity. We move back and forth between the world and Wake, beyond how strange other places and practices have been, to how strange our own assumptions are, as we conclude our class by turning our analytical tools onto our own cultural contexts. (CD,D)

  • HST 275 – Modern Latin America
    This course surveys the social, political and economic history of postcolonial Latin America, a region that includes Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean. Our focus will be the formation of independent nation states and political regimes, and the quest for sovereignty and its challenges in the shadow of the United States. We begin with the struggles for independence from colonial rule and the emergence of Latin American nation‑states in the nineteenth century and continue through the present, including the NAFTA free trade regime, the rise of new social movements such as the Zapatistas and the emergence of new populist figures such as Hugo Chávez. We will consider the challenges facing Latin American political regimes in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the meaning of national autonomy under the influence of the US, the causes and consequences of state terror, and the experience of revolution from the perspective of everyday life. We will learn to differentiate key structural and stylistic features of Latin American political formations such as order and progress dictatorships, populism, military regimes, and revolutionary movements. A key focus will be U.S. policy towards Latin America, from the Monroe Doctrine through the wars in Central America and neoliberalism, as well as popular resistance. (CD)
  • HST 284 – Latin America’s Colonial Past
    This course explores Latin America’s colonial past from pre-conquest indigenous civilizations to the wars of independence in the early nineteenth century. We will compare popular myths of Conquest to the concepts of Contact and the Columbian Exchange. Although indigenous populations were decimated by European violence and disease, robust communities adapted to their new environment, particularly in the Andes and Mesoamerica. Forced labor, both indigenous and African, often resisted domination, as exemplified in the Haitian Revolution. We will examine the variety of slave systems developed in the Caribbean and South America, and the maturation of other colonial institutions, such as the Inquisition and Catholic Church. The birth of new cultural practices and evolving systems of race, caste, gender and sexuality will be traced through primary sources including native language documents, slave narratives, inquisition records, letters, and castas paintings.
  • HST 359. Prostitutes, Machos and Travestis: Sexuality and Gender in Modern Latin American History
    Beyond machismo, exoticism, and the virgin-whore dichotomy, this class links contemporary and historical investigation of sexuality and gender in South and Central America and the Caribbean. Prostitution, masculinity, and the transgender continuum will be the core subjects, which we will examine across time and space and from a range of perspectives. Cross-cutting topics will include women’s agency, violence, slavery, revolution, migration, multiple masculinities, queer and indigenous gender alternatives, public health, narcos, and media scapegoating. No particular background is required. (CD)
  • HST 360. Jewish Immigration to the Americas
    This course explores Jewish migrations across the Atlantic to the US and Latin America in order to address broader questions about mobility and identity for immigrants and ethnic groups more generally. The class begins with the early migration of Sephardic Jews and crypto-Jews; compares settlement patterns in the British and Spanish colonies; situates mass migrations in the context of modernization in Eastern Europe; compares a series of case studies across the continent in the 1880s-1920s (the U.S., Brazil, Argentina, the Dominican Republic); considers race, gender, anti-Semitism, class, respectability, and institutional development; and explores the effect of the Holocaust on Jews across the Americas. Each week’s reading will include primary as well as secondary sources, such as fiction, memoir, poetry, film, cartoons, and photography. Student projects will compare the immigration experience in a particular location of Jews with another group, such as Jewish and Japanese migrants to Brazil in the early 20th century.

Monographs and Edited Collections

  • “Uprooting the Seeds of Evil: Ezras Noschim and Jewish Marriage Regulation, Morality Certificates, and Degenerate Prostitute Mothers in 1930s Buenos Aires,” pp. 55-80 in The New Jewish Argentina: Facets of Jewish Experiences in the Southern Cone, eds. Adriana Brodsky and Raanan Rein, (Leiden: Brill, 2012). The book received the 2013 Latin American Jewish Studies Association’s Best Book Award.
  • “Prosopografía Proxeneta: Inmigración Judía, Socorros Mutuos y Comercio Sexual en Argentina, 1906-1930,” pp. 67-92 in Marginados y Consagrados: Nuevos Estudios Sobre los Judios Argentinos, eds. Emmanuel Kahan, Laura Schenquer, Damián Setton, and Alejandro Dujovne (Buenos Aires: Ediciones Lumiere, 2011).

For a complete list of publications, click CV.

Articles and Essays

  • “Sociedad Varsovia as Voluntary Society: Mutual Aid among Jewish Pimps in Buenos Aires, 1906-1930,” Journal of Latin American Studies (forthcoming).
  • “Masculinity: Latin America,” The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern World, vol. 5, ed. Peter Stearns (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008); pp. 74-76.

For a complete list of publications, click CV.