Areas of Interest:
Yiddish Language, Literature, and Culture; Jewish and East European Music; Religion and Identity; Theatre and Stand-Up Comedy
Ph.D. (Columbia University)
B.A. (Harvard University)
Yuri Vedenyapin grew up in Moscow and began collecting Yiddish oral history in his teens, first in Russia and then throughout Eastern Europe, Israel, and the United States. His interests embrace both Yiddish culture and the history of the Yiddish language, including the history of Yiddish dialects, and the development of literary movements, genres, and style. Before entering academia, he studied acting at the Shchepkin Acting School in Moscow, and he is still active as a Yiddish singer, songwriter, and storyteller. He moved to the United States in 2001 in order to pursue Yiddish studies, earning his B.A. from Harvard University in 2004 and a Ph.D. from Columbia University in 2016. His undergraduate thesis focused on the stand-up comedy of the famous Yiddish comic duo Shimen Dzigan and Yisroel Schumacher and was published by Harvard as Doctors Prescribe Laughter: The Stand-Up Comedy of Shimen Dzigan. His a doctoral dissertation dealt with the history of Yiddish literary travelogues. For seven years before coming to McGill, he taught Yiddish language and culture at Harvard University. He has also taught at a wide range of other universities, intensive summer programs, and musical festivals, including the University of Cambridge, Tel Aviv University, Columbia University, Moscow State University, Yiddish Book Center (Amherst, MA), KlezKanada (Montreal), Klezfest (St. Petersbug), Ot Azoy (London), Yiddish Summer Weimar (Germany), and the Yiddish summer programs in Ukraine and Poland.