Marta Topel






  • IDEMEC (UMR 7307)


Accueil LabexMed


Marta F. Topel was born in Brazil but left the country to Buenos Aires (Argentina) when she was a child. In Buenos Aires she got her B. A. in Sociology, and in 1985 travelled to Israel to do her M.A. She returned to Brazil in 1990 and got her Ph.D. from the UNICAMP university in 1996. In 1998 she started to work in the Program for Hebrew Language and Jewish Literature at the University of São Paulo. She is a tenured professor in the undergraduate Program for Hebrew Language and Jewish Literature, and in the Graduate Program for Jewish and Arabic Studies at the University of São Paulo (USP). Topel had devoted the last 15 years to study Orthodox Jewish communities, both in Brazil and in Israel. Her last book Jewish Orthodoxy and Its Discontents: Religious Dissidence in Contemporary Israel (2012) was a pioneering study of desertion from Jewish Israeli Orthodoxy, and was translated to English. Although Topel continues to research different topics related to Jewish Orthodoxy, like the changes of the concepts of diaspora and home through History, and is developing new approaches to understand the Jewish dietary laws as they function nowadays, since 2017 Topel has also been developing a research about the emergence of new Jewish identities in Brazil, and how they relate to Brazilian Jewish institutions and to the State of Israel.


Professeur d'Anthropologie de l' Université de Sao Paulo At present time, Marta F. Topel has six M.A. and Ph.D. students under her supervision; she also teaches in the undergraduate and graduate courses in the both programs she works. Since 2017, she is the Head of the Center for Jewish Studies at the University of São Paulo (USP). Her main topics of research are: Orthodox and contemporary Judaism, multiculturalism in Israeli society, ethnicity in the context of Brazilian society, and Religious Fundamentalism. Chercheuse invitée LabexMed à l'IDEMEC du 1er au 18 décembre 2018
Lecture et rencontre

During her stay in the University of Aix-en-Provence, on December 3 Marta Topel will deliver the lecture “Where is home? The transfer of the axis mundi in contemporary Judaism, an analysis of the case of Sao Paulo”.

On December 6, she will meet with the postdocs of Labemed share with tthem her experiences as how Jewish Studies are organized in Brazilian Academy, stressing the activities of the Programs and the Center for Jewish Studies of the University of São Paulo.

On December 13, with Dr. Cyril Isnart, Topel will present the Journal issue of Lusotopie which is being organized by both.

Finally, in her stay in Aix, Topel will do some library fieldwork focused on Jewish from Iberic origins.


Ouvrage Direction, Proceedings, Dossier

  • (2012) Jewish Orthodoxy and its Discontents: Religious Dissidence in Contemporary Israel. New York: University Press of America, 2012
  • (2008) Jerusalem and Sao Paulo: The New Jewish Orthodoxy in Focus. New York: University Press of America.

Récentes ou Principales (liste sélective)

  • 2017 – “Jerusalem, the Diaspora and the Jewish Home: The Transfer of the Axis Mundi in Contemporary Judaism – The Case of Sao Paulo” em Yaron Harel, Margalit Bejarano, Marta Topel, Margalit Yosifon (eds.). Jews and Jewish Identities in Latin America: Historical, Cultural, and Literary Perspective. New York: Academic Studies Press.
  • 2017 - “The Brazilian Jewish communities: globalization and glocalization” in Cristina Maria de Castro & Andrew Dawson (orgs.). Religion, Globalization and Migration: The Brazilian Experience. Routledge.
  • 2016 – “Judaism revivals in Brazil” in Cristian Schmidt & Steven Engler (eds). Brill Handbooks on Contemporary Religion.
  • 2015 – “Secularismo e religião em Israel” em Humanismo Judaico na Literatura, na História e na Ciência, vol. III. Rio de Janeiro: Jaguatirica, 2015.
  • 2015 – “Terra prometida, exílio e diáspora: apontamentos e reflexões sobre o caso judeu” in Horizontes Antropológicos, 43.