Anna Elena Torres

Director of Undergraduate Studies and Assistant Professor, Comparative Literature and The College
Walker 309L
Ph.D. UC Berkeley, 2016 MTS Harvard Divinity School, 2010 B.A. Swarthmore College, 2007
Teaching at UChicago since 2018
Research Interests: Jewish Studies, Gender and Women’s Studies, Anarchism and Labor History, Disability, Diaspora Studies, Religion, Translation, Yiddish

Selected Publications

With Freedom in Our Ears: Histories of Jewish Anarchism 

Horizons Blossom, Borders Vanish: Anarchism and Yiddish Literature | YIVO Institute for Jewish Research

"Radical Stillness: Reading Velocity in Yiddish Anti-Fascist Poetics" at the University of North Carolina, Jewish Studies Department

"On Peretz Markish and Anarchist Diasporism / Lecture at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research"

"Praxis Poems: Radical Genealogies of Yiddish Poetry / Lecture at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research

Research Interests: Yiddish Studies, Gender and Women’s Studies, Anarchism and Labor History, Disability, Diaspora Studies, Religion, Indigenous Studies, Translation

I am a scholar of Comparative Literature specializing in Jewish Studies.  My current work examines how Yiddish literature was informed by mass migration and movements for human rights beyond the frames of statism and nationalism.

My book Horizons Blossom, Borders Vanish: Anarchism and Yiddish Literature (Yale University Press, 2023) documents how Yiddish radicals translated and resignified “classical” European anarchism into new forms of anarchist diasporism.  I trace the transit of Jewish anarchist literature from the nineteenth-century Russian Proletarian immigrant poets through the avant-garde modernisms of Warsaw, Chicago, and London to contemporary antifascist composers.  Across these realms, I examine Jewish anarchist strategies for negotiating surveillance, censorship, detention, and deportation.  Chapters study the subversive Soviet epic poemas of Peretz Markish, the feminist journalism and poetry of Anna Margolin, the linguistic projects of Alexander Harkavy, the early post-Haymarket prose of Malka Heifetz Tussman, and other works.

With the labor historian Kenyon Zimmer (UT Arlington), I edited With Freedom in Our Ears: Histories of Jewish Anarchism (University of Illinois Press), the first book-length study of transnational, multilingual Jewish anarchism.

I am currently writing The Dancing Bear: Disability and Animality in Jewish Literature, a study of animality, disability, and racialization within Ashkenazi literature, folk song, and visual art.  Its subjects include the writers Sholem Aleichem, Menke Katz, and Moyshe Kulbak, and the painters Issachar Ber Ryback, Marc Chagall, and Yosef Chaikov.

My research has examined the Polish writer, philosopher, and art critic Debora Vogel (also written Dvoyre Fogel, 1900-1942). Vogel’s aesthetic theory and practice anticipated postwar experimental representations of domestic temporality and women’s labor. In addition to the article “Circular Landscapes: Montage and Myth in Dvoyre Fogel's Yiddish Poetry” (Nashim 2019), I translated her poetry collection Manekinen (Mannequins, 1934), organized a Vogel symposium at U-Chicago, and co-edited a special issue of In geveb: A Journal of Yiddish Studies dedicated to her work.

Other recent articles on the aesthetics and archives of Jewish antifascist literature include "The Anarchist Sage/Der Goen Anarkhist: Rabbi Yankev-Meir Zalkind and Religious Genealogies of Anarchism"; a study of Yankev Meir Zalkind, the rabbi, antimilitarist, and polyglot philologist who translated the Talmud (In Geveb, 2019). My research on Peretz Markish includes a study and translation of Der fertsikyeriker man (“The Man of Forty”), the Expressionist poet’s magnum opus smuggled out hours before his arrest by Stalin’s police (Jewish Quarterly Review 2020).

Ongoing projects include a comparative study of racialization, indigeneity, and colonial education in Puerto Rico and Native American residential schools in the United States.

I serve on the International Editorial Board for Manchester University Press' Contemporary Anarchist Studies Series. I have held fellowships at the Frankel Center of the University of Michigan, National Yiddish Book Center, the Joseph A. Labadie Collection in Ann Arbor, and elsewhere. I have also worked as a muralist, community organizer, and set designer.

Selected Publications

“Encountering Pseudo-Territory,” ArtsEverywhere, November 2022. 

Horizons Blossom, Borders Vanish: Anarchism and Yiddish Literature. Yale University Press (Winter 2023)

With Freedom in Our Ears: Histories of Jewish AnarchismUniversity of Illinois Press (Spring 2023)

In geveb Special Issue on Debora Vogel (Dvoyre Fogel), co-editor.

Montage-Murals: Ella Ponizovsky Bergelson’s “Present Figures” (Berlin 2021)

"Circular Landscapes: Montage and Myth in Dvoyre Fogel's Yiddish Poetry."

Nashim: A Journal of Jewish Women's Studies & Gender IssuesNumber 35, Fall 5780/2019  pp. 40-73

"The Anarchist Sage/Der Go'en Anarkhist: Rabbi Yankev Meir Zalkind and Religious Genealogies of Anarchism.”  In Geveb: A Journal of Yiddish Studies. 

"The Horizon Blossoms and the Borders Vanish: Peretz Markish's Poetry and Anarchist Diasporism." Jewish Quarterly Review, Volume 110, Number 3, Summer 2020, pp. 458-490

 “'To Those Who Came Before, We Say Pa'lante': Women in the Puerto Rican Independence Movement.” With Emma Torres. Feminisms in Motion: A Decade of Intersectional Feminist Media (AK Press)

Courses Taught

  • Poetry and the Human (Core Sequence)
  • Gender and Translation
  • Reading as a Writer: The Poetry and Politics of Walking
  • Russian Civilizations (Core Sequence)
  • Gender and Embodiment in Yiddish Literature
  • Stateless Imaginations: Anarchism and Literature
  • Language is Migrant: Yiddish Poetics of the Border
  • Queer Jewish Literature
  • Comparative Methodologies in the Humanities

Affiliated Departments:

Near Eastern Languages and Cultures

Jewish Studies

Center for Sexuality and Gender Studies


If you are unable to access any of my articles, you may request a pdf directly.