Assistant Professor, Judaic Studies
Devi Mays received her BA in Religious Studies at the University of British Columbia in 2006 and her PhD in History and Jewish Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington, in 2013. Dr. Mays works on transnational Jewish networks in the Mediterranean and global contexts, with a focus on Sephardic Jews. She spent a year in Istanbul and in 2013-14 was a postdoctoral fellow at the Jewish Theological Seminary. Her dissertation, “Transplanting Cosmopolitans: The Migrations of Sephardic Jews to Mexico, 1900-1934,” deals with Sephardic migrants between the Ottoman Empire, its successor states, and Mexico, studying the transnational identities, networks, and citizenships which they cultivated to circumvent restrictions imposed by the Ottoman, Mexican, and Turkish states. She shows that exploiting commercial and familial networks between formerly Ottoman lands, France, the United States, Cuba, and Mexico ensured for Sephardic migrants a geographic and social mobility that challenged the physical borders of the state and the conceptual boundaries of the nation. Her second project explores the Ottoman capital of Constantinople as a central stage upon which Jewish subtonic and imperial affiliations collided and coalesced, a lynch-pin between the Jewish Black Sea and the Jewish Mediterranean. Her publications include, among others, “‘I Killed Her Because I Loved Her Too Much’: Gender and Violence in the 20th-Century Sephardi Diaspora” (Mashriq & Mahjar: Journal of Middle East Migration Studies, 2014), and numerous translations from Ladino, Spanish, and French in Sephardi Lives: A Documentary History, 1700-1950 (Stanford University Press, 2014).
Field(s) of Study
- Modern Sephardic History, the modern Jewish Mediterranean, migration and diaspora studies