Sarah Frances Levin

Levin’s research focuses on the Jewish communities of North Africa and the Middle East, and particularly on intertextual dialogue and debate between Jews and Muslims. Her dissertation, “Narrative Remembrance: Close Encounters Between Muslims and Jews in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains,” investigates 20th-century Jewish-Muslim relations in Morocco as remembered through oral traditions by individuals of both religions living today in Morocco and Israel. Because folklore often serves to express intergroup tensions, she argues that it offers a unique framework for addressing issues of boundaries and difference, while simultaneously elucidating the shared cultural experiences of Jews and Muslims. Her analysis of the narratives reveals a complex and diverse intercommunal life in which maintaining religious boundaries involved constant negotiation of closeness and separation, and created an intricate — and sometimes tense — dance between affinity and differentiation.