Tel Aviv University
Ella Darivoff Fellow

Research Topic

Seeds of Choice: Jewish Women’s Healthcare Practices in the Late Ottoman Empire


Anabella Esperanza is a social and cultural historian of the late Ottoman Empire and Judeo-Spanish (Ladino) Jewry. Esperanza’s research interests lie at the intersection of Jewish and Ottoman studies, history of science and health, and gender studies. She is particularly interested in the integration of history from the perspective of the body and the history of body practices, women’s health, sexuality, and shared ritual and medical cultures. Esperanza’s research deepens understanding of and raises new questions about Jews’ and women’s everyday life and Jewish-Muslim relations. 

Before coming to the Katz Center, Esperanza was a postdoctoral researcher at the Dan David Fellows at Tel Aviv University. She received her Ph.D. from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Selected publications

  • “Medicalising the Jewish Ritual Bath: Women, Health, and Purity in the Late Ottoman Empire,” Gender & History 33.3 (2021): 683–700.
  • “A Socio-Linguistic Analysis of Early Essays in Judeo-Spanish Written by Women” (Hebrew), Pe‘amim 166 (2022): 9–49.



Exploring health through the intersection between bodies and systems, language and physicality, religion and science, and beyond.