Semester of Graduation

May 2024


Master of Fine Arts (MFA)


School of Art

Document Type



We had to know who we were; We had to know who we weren't is a large body of work which is an exploration of Jewish identity, memory, and place in the rural and small-town Deep South through photography and oral history interviews. This section, titled Infinite Poem, is a selection of work from We had to know who we were; We had to know who we weren’t. It consists of only sites of worship. These places, both synagogues and more informal meeting places - family homes, spaces above stores - are often the heartbeat of these communities. Their role is far beyond that of worship. They are sites of community gathering, where language, food, and culture are passed from one generation to the next. They are sites of memory, where stories are passed l’dor v’dor, from one generation to the next, and where photographs and writings of those who once inhabited them are kept. Building upon Michel-Rolph Trouillot’s idea of silences in the archive, my work seeks to shed light on these people and places, and to fill a silence in both the Southern and Jewish archive by creating a photographic and aural record of individuals, communities, and the built environment which are often overlooked in conversations about the Deep South and the Jewish diaspora



Committee Chair

Jeremiah Ariaz

Available for download on Monday, March 24, 2031