Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
Florida International University
Website URL
Jewish women's history, South African history, Jewish-Black relations; Black Jewish women's experiences; Brazilian history; anti-semitism and racism; West Indian/Caribbean migration to the U.K., black women's sexuality
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

About Me

Abby Gondek received her PhD in Global and Socio-cultural Studies (GSS), majoring in Anthropology/Sociology, from Florida International University in May 2018. She earned her M.A. in African and African Diaspora Studies as part of the combined program with GSS in May 2015. Her dissertation, “Jewish women’s transracial epistemological networks: Representations of Black women in the African Diaspora, 1930-1980” uses social network analysis and grounded theory methodology to analyse how Jewish women social scientists relationally established their gendered-racialized subjectivities and theories about race-gender-sexuality-class through their portrayals of black women’s sexuality and family structures in the African Diaspora. She received a series of Ruth Landes Memorial Fund grants through The Reed Foundation in order to complete archival data collection in New York City, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., and Johannesburg, South Africa with the papers of Jewish social scientists: Vera D. Rubin, Hilda Kuper, Ruth Landes, and Ellen Hellmann. Previously, Abby received a Foreign Language and Area Studies fellowship through the Latin American and Caribbean Center at FIU, which supported her fieldwork in Brazil (Winter 2014-2015) regarding the contemporary impact of the 1938-1939 research of Jewish American anthropologist Ruth Landes who argued that Candomblé, an Afro-Brazilian, Yoruba-based, spirit-possession religion, was matriarchal. Abby wrote her M.A. exit paper on this topic: “Placing Ruth Landes within Afro-Brazilian Studies: The Debates about ‘Black Matriarchy’ 1930-1950 and Contemporary Critiques,” arguing that Ruth Landes’ specific Jewish background influenced her arguments and position within these debates as well as her treatment by men (some Jewish) within the disciplines of anthropology and sociology. Abby’s nonfiction writing has been published in the Journal of Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian Crypto Jews, and Critical Half. Her poetry has been published in Gender on Our Minds and Free Your Voice: A Brandeis Women’s Publication.

Recent Publications

Online Literary Magazine

Gondek, Abby

2018 Mini-Syllabus: Representations of blackness, gender and sexuality in the African Diaspora. Entropy Magazine., accessed May 13, 2018

Book Review

Gondek, Abby

2018 Book Review: Red Diaper Daughter: Three Generations of Rebels and Revolutionaries. Fat Studies 7(1): 107–109. 

Textbook Chapter Section

Gondek, Abby

2017 Text Box 2: Does Black Matriarchy Exist in Brazil? Histories of Slavery and African Cultural Survivals in Afro-Brazilian Religion. In Perspectives: An Open Invitation to Cultural Anthropology. Nina Brown, Laura Tubelle De González, and Thomas McIlwraith, eds. Pp. 26–28. Arlington, VA: American Anthropological Association: Society for Anthropology in Community Colleges.

Essay in Book (forthcoming)

“Ruth Landes, Candomblé priestesses, and the multiple meanings of Afro-Bahiana cloth dolls” accepted July 3, 2018 for inclusion into Putting Theory and Things Together: Working With Museum Collections (to be published in 2019). Based upon a paper delivered at the Latin American Studies Association International Congress in Lima, Peru (2017). Research was conducted at the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum in Summer 2014 and the Popular Art Museum at the Feminine Institute of Bahia in December 2014 and January 2015.

For my publications

Media Coverage
Country Focus
Brazil; South Africa; U.K.;
Expertise by Geography
Africa, Atlantic, Caribbean, Eastern Europe, England, Germany, Latin America, United Kingdom, United States
Expertise by Chronology
20th century
Expertise by Topic
Colonialism, Family, Gender, Holocaust & Nazi Persecution, Indigenous Peoples, Libraries & Archives, Material Culture, Museums, Pedagogy, Race, Religion, Sexuality, Sexual Violence, Urban History, Women, World War I, World War II