Call for Papers for an Edited Book on
Rethinking Modern Jewish History and Memory Through Photography
Ofer Ashkenazi (Hebrew University) and Thomas Pegelow Kaplan (ASU)
As part of a broader pictorial turn in the Humanities since the 1990s, there has been an unprecedented scholarly interest in photography. Numerous recent studies in a variety of fields have considered photographs and albums—in more or less methodical ways—as exceptional types of documents, which simultaneously display reality and comment on it. Moreover, they have subjected photographs to a “postlinguisitc, postsemiotic rediscovery” (W.J.T. Mitchell) and expanded the focus to a wider visual culture and spectatorship, ranging from the gaze to practices of seeing. These studies have introduced new perceptions of photographic narratives as the foundation of shared memory (or “postmemory”) and, indeed, new histories. Scholars of Jewish studies and Jewish history have offered some of the most systematic and inventive demonstrations of photo-analysis that enriches and complicates our understanding of historical experiences and mnemonic practices. This book brings together some of the most intriguing endeavors in this field and highlights current developments, from new approaches to private narratives in family albums and the transnational circulation of photographic imagery to novel emphases in the study of Jewish migration and the use of digital collections of photographs. We seek not only to showcase and reflect on these recent achievements, but also to underscore the interrelations between works in different fields of Jewish studies and history and between different theoretical approaches to the use of photography in historical research.
The book has therefore a twofold objective. First, it seeks to provide a state of the art account of the field: What are the most significant approaches to photography in Jewish studies and history to date? How have these approaches been implemented in recent scholarship? And how can they be integrated in other, new inquiries, which will underscore a diversity of aspects related to modern Jewish experiences -- often gender-based -- that include acculturation, the Shoah and anti-Jewish mass violence, and migration. Second, it introduces new studies by both established and up and coming scholars that utilize photography in novel manners to redefine the contours of Jewish history and memory in the near future. To achieve this ambitious goal, the volume would comprise a wide variety of relevant topics and categories from professional to “vernacular” photography, produced and consumed within institutional, commercial or private contexts. Likewise, the studies in our volume would consider single photographs, alongside albums and serialized collections, and would examine challenges of interpretation and narration. The variety of styles and aesthetics would be complemented by a variety of places that sheds light on the diversity of Jewish experience from across Europe to North and South America, Asia and the Middle-East since the nineteenth century. Without being fully exhaustive, the volume will cover fundamental meeting points between photography and Jewish experiences as well as major trends and potentials of this crucial field of inquiry.
In light of these dual objectives, we welcome contributions by scholars from a variety of disciplines who work on the intersections of Jewish photography, memory and history. We invite submissions that ponder our stated objectives and questions with a more empirical or a more theoretical emphasis. Finally, we will only accept work that has not already been published elsewhere.
The essays should engage one or more of the following research areas without being fully limited by them:
- Jewish photography’s negotiation of:
-- Migration/immigration and exile
-- Jewish everyday life
-- Jewish nationalism and Zionism
-- The Jewish home
-- Jewish identity (religious, ethnic, cultural, etc.)
- Theories and conceptualizations of Jewish photography
- Photography and anti-Jewish mass violence, persecution, and antisemitism
- From Jewish memories to postmemories
- Photography in Jewish historiography
- Jewish photographers and the history of photography
- Jewish private and/or vernacular photography
- Jewish philosophers and critics on photography
- The curation of Jewish photography (including, but not limited to, its impact on Jewish memory and the narration of Jewish history in museums and memorials)
- Jewish commercial photographers the business of photography
Please submit an abstract of 300 words (including title) and a short, 100-word bio to both Ofer Ashkenazi (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Thomas Pegelow Kaplan (email@example.com) by August 31, 2020.