Culture, Memory, Context: Reenactments of Traumatic Histories in Europe and Eurasia
In this article, I discuss what I term “Jewface” minstrelsy performance and “Jewfaçade” display in three contemporary contexts with highly divergent historical backgrounds: East-Central Europe, the Iberian Peninsula, and the Jewish Autonomous Republic, a fictitious-sounding but real colony established by Stalin in far eastern Russia near China and still extant today. Jewface encompasses music, dance, theater, and extra-theatrical modes of performance, in which non-Jews dress up and act like “Jews,” as historically imagined; Jewfaçade encompasses museum-type installations, as well as architectural and decorative constructions, depicting imagined “Jewish” life. These “Diaspora Disneys” vary from the education- and tolerance-oriented to the crassly exploitative and commercial to the bizarrely confused. None have much to do with actual Jews, but all convey a tremendous amount regarding dominant “host” cultures’ anxieties over not only their roles in past persecution and genocide but also their own present cultures, politics, and positions in the wider world today. Further, they present a wide array of models of memoriological projection and desire, in what I explicate as spectra of “plethoric” to “voidic” memoriological scenarios and “negotiatory” to “constitutory” memoriological strategies.
Main Topic: Culture and Heritage Jewish Culture Jewish Heritage Attitudes to Jews Memory Memorial Tourism
Link to article (paywalled), Culture, Memory, Context: Reenactments of Traumatic Histories in Europe and Eurasia
Culture, Memory, Context: Reenactments of Traumatic Histories in Europe and Eurasia. . 2013: 21-30. https://archive.jpr.org.uk/10.1007/s10767-013-9138-7