Karen Wilson’s New Project


Karen Wilson, a former BCC treasurer, is now curating a new exhibit at the Autry Museum, about the history and future of Jews in Los Angeles.

Karen is also the editor of a new book called Jews in Los Angeles Mosaic, which is a part of An S. Mark Taper Foundation Book in Jewish Studies and is available to purchase worldwide.

Karen Wilson is the Kahn Research Fellow with the UCLA Center for Jewish Studies and head curator for “Mapping Jewish Los Angeles.” She also teaches an undergraduate seminar on the history of Jews in LA. She received her Ph.D. in U.S. History from the University of California, Los Angeles. Her dissertation, entitled “On the Cosmopolitan Frontier: Jews, Social Networks, and Nineteenth-Century Los Angeles,” examined the ways in which diverse social networks shaped the emergent American city and the incorporation and identities of Jewish settlers in post-Gold Rush society.

Influenced by popular notions that the West is a place of vanishing Jews and disappearing Judaism, most people draw a blank at the words “Los Angeles Jew.” Yet, the region is home to the second largest number of Jews in North America, and boasts the fourth largest Jewish population in the world, behind only Tel Aviv, New York City, and Jerusalem. Wilson’s book, and its companion exhibition at the Autry National Center, reveals how Los Angeles has shaped Jewish identities and how Jewish Angelenos have shaped the metropolis.

Six incisive essays look at the mutual influence of people and place as they examine Jewish engagement with frontier society, yidishe kultur and union activism, ethnic identity and Hollywood movies, Jewish women and local politics, and Jews making music in Los Angeles. The book is illustrated with a wealth of images that illustrate how Jews, operating both at the center and the margins of power, have contributed to the place and myth called Los Angeles.

BCC’s Men and Women Havurot, as well as the 20s/30s Havurah, will support Karen Wilson with a special visit to the Jews in Los Angeles Mosaic Symposium with a guided tour by Karen, on Sunday, June 16 between 9:45 AM and 1:00 PM. You are welcome to join us!

This art viewing is followed by a self-pay lunch in the Autry Café. Pre-paid group ticket rates: $8/adults, $5/seniors (over 60), $5/students (13 to 18) and $3/kids (3 to 12).

All the details about the exhibit and the symposium are below. Congratulations, Karen!

JLAM Symposium_Eflyer_April

2 Comments on “Karen Wilson’s New Project”

Leave a Comment