Mir Yarfitz joins the podcast to discuss his book Impure Migration: Jews and Sex Work in Golden Age Argentina, and the big-picture issues surrounding the history of migration, sex work and prostitution, and the morality tale of “white slavery.” As he describes in the book, and dives into in this wide-ranging conversation, looking closely at this history both offers a new light on the history of Jews in Argentina and also indicates important ways in which we can rethink the phenomenon of sex work as well as the stakes of debates about migration and immigration. Notably, he argues that we should recognize the agency of the historical actors just as much as contemporary figures in these spheres, and also that the history of the terms of the discourse surrounding sex work is closely connected to the criminalization and racialization of immigrants, both within the twentieth-century Argentine context as well as in twenty-first century America.
Mir Yarfitz is an Associate Professor at Wake Forest University’s Department of History. Impure Migration is his first book.
This episode is guest hosted by Geraldine Gudefin, a scholar of modern Jewish studies currently teaching at American University. She received her Ph.D. in History from Brandeis University in 2018, and her research is focused on migration, gender, and the intersection of law and religion in French and American Jewish history.
An edited transcript of the conversation will be available shortly.