Pratima Gopalakrishnan is a historian of Near Eastern Jewish communities in the first millennium CE, with particular interests in free and unfree labor, sexuality, and economic history. As Perilman Postdoctoral Fellow in the Center for Jewish Studies, Gopalakrishnan’s current research demonstrates how late antique Jewish texts describe the work performed by free and enslaved women not as static or unchanging, but as subject to constant negotiation. Another research project concerns the lists of commodities and valuations contained in medieval dowry lists and inventories from the Cairo Geniza.
As a MML affiliate, Gopalakrishnan is especially interested in pedagogical applications of discussions about cultural heritage, and encourages students to reflect critically on historical and contemporary circumstances that condition their access to texts: whether a translation before them, an image of a papyrus on the library website, or an object displayed at the museum. Gopalakrishnan received her PhD in Religious Studies at Yale, a MA in Jewish Studies from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, and a BA in Religious Studies and Economics from the University of Virginia.