UCL Hebrew & Jewish Studies


Dr Sonia Gollance

portrait of Sonia Gollance
Lecturer in Yiddish


Photo: Adam Berry


Sonia Gollance is Lecturer in Yiddish at UCL. She is a scholar of Yiddish Studies and German-Jewish literature whose work focuses on dance, theatre, and gender. Her first book, It Could Lead to Dancing: Mixed-Sex Dancing and Jewish Modernity, was published by Stanford University Press in 2021. Previously she taught at the University of Vienna, The Ohio State University, and the University of Göttingen (Germany). She received her PhD in Germanic Languages and Literatures from the University of Pennsylvania and her BA in Comparative Literature and Germanic Studies from the University of Chicago.


Dr Gollance's research is broadly concerned with the ways dance, theatre, gender, and the body mediate Jewish experiences of modernity. One of the leading scholars of European Jewish dance, her work engages with the emerging field of literary dance studies from a Jewish Studies perspective. Her first book considers transgressive dancing as a way of understanding the dramatic cultural changes Jews negotiated in the period between the Enlightenment and the Holocaust. Several articles and translation projects reexamine the contributions of Yiddish women writers. Her work has been supported with research fellowships from institutions including the Center for Jewish History (USA), Association for Jewish Studies (USA), Hadassah-Brandeis Institute (USA), Österreichischer Austauschdienst (Austria), YIVO Institute for Jewish Research (USA), Franz Rosenzweig Minerva Research Center for German-Jewish Literature and Cultural History (Israel), and Fulbright Commission (USA). Her peer reviewed articles have appeared in Austrian StudiesDance ChronicleEighteenth-Century StudiesIn geveb: A Journal of Yiddish Studies, and Jewish Social Studies.

Impact and Engagement

Dr Gollance is the Managing Editor of Plotting Yiddish Drama, an initiative of the Digital Yiddish Theatre Project to create a digital database of Yiddish play synopses. In this capacity, she has published short works of public scholarship about different aspects of the Yiddish dramatic repertoire. Her other writings for a general audience concern topics such as pedagogy and the European refugee crisis. Dr Gollance has given talks about her research at culture festivals such as KlezKanada and Yiddish New York, and has taught and led Yiddish folk dancing in university, festival, and community settings.