PORZECANSKI, TERESA (1945– ), Uruguayan anthropologist, poet, and writer of Ashkenazi and Syrian descent. Her professional works includes nine books on anthropology and social sciences, among them Historias de vida de inmigrantes judíos al Uruguay ("Life Stories of Jewish Immigrants to Uruguay," 1986), based on oral history. Porzecanski is lecturer and researcher in social sciences at the Universidad de la República, Montevideo. Her novels and short stories frequently deal with small, unimportant people in their desperate struggle for happiness and sense in life, which is frequently related to mythic motifs and impulses deeply rooted in the human soul. Her Jewish characters (Ashkenazi and Sephardi, following her own roots) show the transformations of traditions and beliefs in a modern and often alien environment, and the forging of a new, Latin American Jewish identity. Her main books are Construcciones ("Constructions," 1979); La invención de los soles (1982; Sun Inventions and Perfumes of Carthage, Two Novellas, 2000); La respiraciónes una fragua ("Breath Is a Forge," 1989); Mesías en Montevideo ("Messiah in Montevideo," 1989); Perfumes de Cartago (1994); Una novela erótica ("An Erotic Novel," 1986); La piel del alma ("The Soul's Skin," 1996); Nupcias en familia y otros cuentos ("Marriage in the Family and Other Stories," 1998); and Felicidades Fugaces ("Shooting Happiness," 2002). She has received many national and international awards, including the Fulbright and Guggenheim scholarships. Her works have been translated into English, Portuguese, German, and Dutch, and included in anthologies of Uruguayan, Jewish, and women's writing.
M. Agosin, Taking Root. Narratives of Jewish Women in Latin America (2002); L. Baer Barr, Isaac Unbound: Patriarchal Traditions in the Latin American Jewish Novel (1995); D.B. Lockhart, Jewish Writers of Latin America – A Dictionary (1997); J. Payne, Conquest of the New Word: Experimental Fiction and Translation in the Americas (1993); E. Valverde, Perfumes letales y banquetes eróticos: los mundos de Teresa Porzecanski (2005).
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.