Gabriella Safran teaches and writes on Russian literature, Yiddish literature, folklore, and folkloristics. She has written on Russian, Polish, Yiddish, and French literatures and cultures.
She is the author of Wandering Soul: The Dybbuk's Creator, S. An-sky (Harvard, 2010), a biography of an early-twentieth-century Russian-Yiddish writer who was also an ethnographer, a revolutionary, and a wartime relief worker.
Her most recent monograph, Recording Russia: Trying to Listen in the Nineteenth Century (Cornell, 2022), looks at how Russian subjects and visitors to the Russian Empire display their skills at listening to and recording the words of "the people." It brings together intellectual history, literary analysis, linguistic anthropology, and sound and media studies.
She is now working on a new book about the international pre-history of the Jewish joke. Drawing primarily on sources in Russian, English, and Yiddish, it asks when, where, and why Jewish voice began to be heard, and recorded, as distinctively humorous.
- Russian & Eurasian Languages, Literatures & Cultures