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Author(s): Preser, Ruth
Date: 2017
Author(s): Barth, Theodor
Date: 2010
Abstract: Travelogue – On the Contemporary Understandings of Citizenship among European Jews – title and subject of Theodor Barth’s thesis – encompasses six books with ethnography based on a multi-sited fieldwork, in Central- & Eastern European Jewish communities.


The books are concerned with aspects of their own conditions of production, from fieldwork research to writing, alongside the ethnographic subject of the Travelogue: the conditions of Jewish communities (mainly in cities of Central and Eastern Europe) in the last half of the 1990s (1995-99).

The books root the model experiments developed throughout the Travelogue in different ethnographic contexts.

Book 1 (Spanning the Fringes – Vagrancy to Prague) is a traveller’s tale with quite contingent, serendipitous, and very short-term trips to sample Jewish life in St. Petersburg, Vilnius, Warsaw, Kiev, Bucharest, Sofia, and Budapest.

Book 2 (The Minutes of the ECJC) is a commentary and analysis around a conference which the candidate attended in Prague in 1995 of the European Council of Jewish Communities (ECJC). It focuses on the political work and changing strategies of the ECJC. This book establishes some of the terms of the problems of community-Jews in Europe.

Book 3 (The Zagreb Almanach) is a description and analysis of the candidate’s stay with the Jewish community of Zagreb, focusing on a place, a green room, the community centre itself—this is the closest to a traditional site of community living in his ethnographic research.

Book 4 (The Books of Zagreb and Sarajevo) provides a contemporary and contextualized reading of a key Jewish ritual complex—the Passover Seder and its text, the Haggadah. This is a cultural object for systematic iteration and commentary, on which to articulate in depth a number of his insights gained more diffusely from observation. Among all the books, book 4 is the one intensive piece in which the textual analysis defines a process through which the candidate intends to sensitise the reader to how pattern can emerge from details.

Book 5 (Thirteen Kisses—a Manual of Survival From Sarajevo) relates a testimonial account of how the activist group La Benevolencija functioned in Sarajevo humanitarian relief during the Bosnian War of 1992-95. The candidate hopes to demonstrate a slow transition from wartime testimonials in the presence of an anthropologist, to recognition in the urban commonwealth in the aftermath of the war. He also invites the reader to consider the particularities of survivor testimonies and contrast these to how the war-zone was perceived from the outside.

Book 6 (The Account of the Lifeline) provides an understanding of a search and accountability model developed by La Benevolencija—in co-operation with the Joint—during the war in Bosnia (1992-95). It consolidates and expands the account of the Jews in Sarajevo and their humanitarian actions, through the candidate’s work on archives of the Joint (American Joint Distribution Committee) in Paris.

The six books of the Travelogue are rounded up in three concluding sections, containing 1) a synopsis of the findings across the books (Frames – Modeling Disordered Systems), 2) an account for the process of visual modeling throughout the books (Design – Choices and Aggregates), 3) a bibliographic presentation in which various sources influenced the conceptual choices and experiments that are made throughout the manuscript are discussed (Bibliography: Reflective Readings). In this way, the candidate hopes to retrace his steps from the findings, via the crafting of the volume back to the ranks of colleagues and readers.
Editor(s): Leiße, Olaf
Date: 2019
Author(s): Jong-min, Jeong
Date: 2020
Author(s): Jong-min, Jeong
Date: 2017
Abstract: What have those living with dementia lost? If they have lost aspects of their mind and self, who are they now? Are they 'normal'? Prevailing medical, therapeutic and sociopsychoanalytic interventions and studies on dementia, largely influenced by Tom Kitwood's person-centred approach, have focused mainly on revealing and evaluating the remaining intact bodily abilities and functions beyond loss. In contrast to this predominant understanding of dementia, my decade-long involvement in a Jewish Care Home as a volunteer and researcher has raised ontological, epistemological and practical critiques, acknowledging that we are never beyond loss but always alongside it, and that we simply do not know how to dwell well with it. Although the expressive and performative words, gestures and behaviours of those with dementia are often regarded as inarticulate, repetitive and nonsensical, these are the lived worlds of dementia that those affected feel, experience and live through, whilst continuously making relations and familiarising themselves with people, things, and their surroundings. This demands a paradigm shift in the ontological, epistemological and practical horizon within the study of dementia. Critically developing Canguilhem's notion of the normal and the abnormal, Ingold's dwelling perspective and Deleuze's concept of becoming, I redefine dementia not as a fixed mode of being but as a continuous process of becoming-dementia through an attentive engagement with one's immediate surroundings. In more detail, this study explores the ways in which people challenge the taken-for-granted concepts of loss and abnormality in five different dementia contexts: ethics, repetition, time, agency and emplacement. By rejecting medical preconceptions or categorisations, this study focuses on uncovering what loss does in everyday life rather than asking what loss means or what people lose. In particular, this study emphasises bodily movement, sensory perception and affect, not because of the language deterioration during dementia trajectories but because of a new way of understanding and new reality that those affected practise in daily life. Consequently, this study illustrates the immanent potential of the anthropological view for thinking and dwelling with those living with dementia alongside their limits and implications. This study is thus an autobiographical ethnographic testimony of my past decade living, learning, volunteering, studying and most importantly co-dwelling with those living with dementia. This is a collaborative co-production created with those involved, as without the participation of those affected and the co-presence of significant others, my work could not be done. Accordingly, there is neither a beginning nor end to this study, but a moving forward and generating dementia becoming as the lives of those affected and those who care for them unfold.
Date: 2013
Abstract: This article explores the recent trend of return migration from Israel to countries of the former Soviet Union. The author analyses the current debates on the subject and, based on ethnographic fieldwork in Odessa, Ukraine conducted in 2005-2007, delves into the everyday experiences of «Russian» Israelis who have resettled in Odessa for personal and professional reasons. It focuses on their reasons for relocation and experiences of settling in their old/new environments, specifically their relationship to organized Jewish life and a sense of belonging. It argues that most returnees do not envision their relocation as a permanent decision and many do return to Israel or travel back and forth. In Odessa their experiences and connections to local Jewish life vary but for the most part returnees are concerned with improving their standard of living and see their relocation as a means of achieving that goal. It is too early to understand the full scope of «Russian» Israeli presence in the FSU, but we can already see that their future moves will most likely be determined by the personal and professional opportunities they encounter and family circumstances they face. The transnational orientations and open-ended journeys of «Russian» Israelis in Odessa complicate concepts of «Home» and «Diaspora» often applied to Israel and the Jewish people. On the one hand, leaving Israel constitutes Odessa as home; on the other hand, strong ties to Israel, displayed among many returnees, speak of Israel as a place of belonging. And yet other cases point to other realities where Russian Israelis explore other options or remain on the move. Placing the material in the wider context of Diaspora studies the author argues that «Home» and «Diaspora» are not fixed categories and can no longer be seen in a simplified manner of ideological constants.
Date: 2015
Abstract: My presentation will draw on the oral history of the Portuguese Jewish Community in XXI century using family histories and life stories of three generations in Portugal, particularly from the Jewish Community of Lisbon. The images that you are seeing here are from the synagogue of Lisbon, called “Shaaré Tikva” or ‘Gates of Hope’, from the beginning of the XX century, that has a symbolic meaning in the history of the Portuguese Jewish Community, in a country that is mainly Catholic by religion. This synagogue is a reflex of the social and historical relationship that was developed over centuries: the synagogue is in one of the main streets of the capital city, but at the time it could not be visible from the street because it was not Catholic. Today I will present the outcome of an anthropological, sociological and historical study over three generations of Portuguese Jews, especially focused on the history of the Sephardim and Ashkenazim in and out of Portugal from the XV century until the present day. I used an ethnographic methodology, doing an extensive ethnographic fieldwork for two years, that allowed me to do an oral reconstruction of their life stories and family memories until modern times, debating issues such as nation, belonging, religion and the meaning of being a Portuguese Jew nowadays. The reconstruction of their history is done taking in account the national and transnational narratives of Europe, Middle-East, Africa and America. It is my intention to contribute for an understanding of the national identity in Portugal and within Europe in a time when questions such as the right of belonging or living is becoming an important part of the public and private discourses.
Author(s): Arkin, Kimberly A.
Date: 2018
Author(s): Kasstan, Ben
Date: 2016
Abstract: Using an integrated archival and ethnographic approach, this study investigates how the growing Haredi Jewish minority and the UK government negotiate their positions in the context of healthcare services in Manchester as one of the few sites where they directly engage. Low-level uptake of certain maternal and infant health interventions has led to claims that Haredi Jews are ‘hard to reach’ or a ‘non-compliant community.’ This thesis critically engages the above outlook by exploring how responses to healthcare services should be framed.
Rather than evading the NHS altogether, as the ‘hard to reach’ label implies, Haredi Jews in Manchester selectively negotiate healthcare services in order to avoid a cosmological conflict with the halachic custodianship of Jewish bodies. Maternal and infant care is situated as a particularly sensitive area of minority-state relations in which competing constructions of bodily protection are at play. Whilst maternal and infant care has historically formed part of the state’s strategy to govern the population, it is increasingly being seized as a point of intervention by Haredi rabbis, doulas, and parents when attempting to reproduce the Haredi social body.
Following Roberto Esposito’s (2015 [2002]) theoretical elaboration of ‘immunitas’ the present work depicts the margins as giving rise to antonymic conceptions of ‘immunity’ as a means of protecting collective life. Interventions that the state regard as protecting the health of the nation can, in turn, be viewed as a threat to the life of the Jewish social body. Immunity at the margins can be characterised by an antonymic fault of both the Haredim and the state to understand each other’s expectations of health and bodily care. The margins of the state illustrate how responses to healthcare interventions can be entangled within a struggle of integration, insulation, and assimilation for minority groups in ways that are contiguous over time.
Author(s): Leite, Naomi
Date: 2017
Abstract: How are local understandings of identity, relatedness, and belonging transformed in a global era? How does international tourism affect possibilities for who one can become?

In urban Portugal today, hundreds of individuals trace their ancestry to 15th century Jews forcibly converted to Catholicism, and many now seek to rejoin the Jewish people as a whole. For the most part, however, these self-titled Marranos ("hidden Jews") lack any direct experience of Jews or Judaism, and Portugal's tiny, tightly knit Jewish community offers no clear path of entry. According to Jewish law, to be recognized as a Jew one must be born to a Jewish mother or pursue religious conversion, an anathema to those who feel their ancestors' Judaism was cruelly stolen from them. After centuries of familial Catholicism, and having been refused inclusion locally, how will these self-declared ancestral Jews find belonging among "the Jewish family," writ large? How, that is, can people rejected as strangers face-to-face become members of a global imagined community - not only rhetorically, but experientially?

Leite addresses this question through intimate portraits of the lives and experiences of a network of urban Marranos who sought contact with foreign Jewish tourists and outreach workers as a means of gaining educational and moral support in their quest. Exploring mutual imaginings and direct encounters between Marranos, Portuguese Jews, and foreign Jewish visitors, Unorthodox Kin deftly tracks how visions of self and kin evolve over time and across social spaces, ending in an unexpected path to belonging. In the process, the analysis weaves together a diverse set of current anthropological themes, from intersubjectivity to international tourism, class structures to the construction of identity, cultural logics of relatedness to transcultural communication.

A compelling evocation of how ideas of ancestry shape the present, how feelings of kinship arise among far-flung strangers, and how some find mystical connection in a world said to be disenchanted, Unorthodox Kin will appeal to a wide audience interested in anthropology, sociology, Jewish studies, and religious studies. Its accessible, narrative-driven style makes it especially well suited for introductory and advanced courses in general cultural anthropology, ethnography, theories of identity and social categorization, and the study of globalization, kinship, tourism, and religion.
Date: 2016
Date: 2011
Abstract: Au carrefour des études de genre, de la sociologie des religions, et de la sociologie politique, cette recherche explore la dimension locale des conflits religieux sur le genre à partir du cas du judaïsme français des années 2000 et la fabrique organisationnelle du genre et de l'identité juive dans les synagogues non orthodoxes en France, qui se caractérisent notamment par l'ouverture du rituel aux femmes. L'approche ethnographique permet d'analyser les dispositifs de socialisation (comme l'organisation de l'espace, du rituel, de la prise de parole, de la formation religieuse, de la mobilisation pour le développement de la synagogue) qui contribuent à la production locale du genre. En particulier, cette thèse montre comment la perception de la division sexuée du travail dans l'organisation, l'appropriation des débats religieux sur le genre, la légitimité de mobilisations locales pour la participation des femmes au rituel, dépendent de la position de chaque organisation dans les concurrences religieuses. Dans une configuration où la place des femmes dans l'espace religieux est utilisée comme marqueur symbolique entre courants religieux en concurrence pour la définition de l'identité juive (configuration que l'on propose d'appeler plus généralement politisation religieuse du genre) la participation répétée au rituel et aux activités de la synagogue engendre un intérêt pratique pour le genre, qui se traduit notamment par une fierté égalitaire masculine et par une injonction féminine à la justification. Si les travaux sur genre et religion ont surtout abordé les contextes religieux conservateurs, cette recherche explore la normativité des contextes religieux égalitaires
Author(s): Sheldon, Ruth
Date: 2016
Date: 2018
Author(s): Brown, Melanie
Date: 2012
Abstract: The Jewish community of Dublin has been in existence for 400 years. Nowadays, many Dublin Jews are descended from Lithuanians who settled in Dublin at the turn of the twentieth century. Most Dublin Jews are integrated into Dublin society, yet little is known of cultural practices specific to Dublin’s Jewish community. This dissertation focuses on the practice of liturgical music in Terenure synagogue, one of Dublin’s two remaining Orthodox synagogues. While music is an integral part of all synagogue services throughout the year, the musical repertoire of the Sabbath morning service has been selected as representing the music which is most commonly experienced by practicing Orthodox Jews in Dublin. Much of the music in Dublin’s Orthodox synagogue has been retained as part of a Lithuanian oral tradition. However, the Dublin Jewish community is currently undergoing a demographic shift, owing to the emigration of Dublin-born Jews coupled with migration into Dublin of Jews from a variety of social, cultural and national backgrounds. As the profile of the Jewish community changes, there is evidence of a gradual shift in the musical tradition of the synagogue. Here there is an attempt to preserve part of the Lithuanian musical tradition for the future.
Ethnographic fieldwork has been conducted among all sections of the Jewish community of Dublin in order to obtain information regarding the history, culture and identity of Dublin Jews. This has provided insight into the oral tradition which has retained the music of the Orthodox synagogue thus far. Other sources of information have included archives and further published/unpublished resources. The research has also involved recording, transcribing and analysing examples of liturgical Jewish music performed in Dublin. This has resulted in a comprehensive historical account of the Dublin Jewish community together with a discussion on Irish Jewish identity. Such material provides a background for the corpus of music which has been collected from various contributors. As well as recordings, this features six fully transcribed versions of the main sections from the Orthodox Sabbath service performed by five individuals, and a discussion on performance practice within the synagogue. It also includes examples of congregational singing which also forms a significant part of the service. Considerations are given to issues including emotion, identity, transmission, gender and the role of the congregation in the performance of music within the Orthodox synagogue of Dublin.
The findings reveal that musical performance in the synagogue assists in promoting a sense of community among those who participate. Orthodox Jewish liturgical music and the way it is disseminated whether in the synagogue or other setting also provides a link with the past, dialogue with the past being an integral part of broad Jewish culture. Prior to this, little has been documented regarding the music of the Orthodox Dublin synagogue; therefore this research provides a basis on which further study of the topic may be conducted.
Author(s): Scholefield, Lynne
Date: 1999
Abstract: Interpreting culture as symbols, stories, rituals and values, the thesis explores the culture of a Jewish and a Catholic secondary school in a dialogical way. The survey of the literature in Chapter 1 identifies relevant school-based research and locates the chosen case-study schools within the context of the British 'dual system'. Chapter 2 draws on the theoretical and methodological literatures of inter-faith dialogue and ethnography to develop and defend a paradigm for the research defined as open-inclusivist and constructivist. The main body of the thesis (Chapters 3-5), based on field-work undertaken in 1996 and 1997, presents the two schools in parallel with each other. Chapter 3 describes the details of the case studies at 'St. Margaret's' and 'Mount Sinai' and my developing research relationship with each school. In Chapter 4 many different voices from each school are woven into two 'tales' about the schools' cultures. This central chapter has a deliberately narrative style. Chapter 5 amplifies the cultural tales through the analysis of broadly quantitative data gained from an extensive questionnaire administered to a sample of senior students in each school. It is the only place in the thesis where views and values from the two schools are directly compared. The final two chapters widen the horizon of the study. Chapter 6 presents voices which were not part of the original case studies but which relate, in different ways, to the culture of the two schools. Chapter 7, with theoretical ideas about Jewish schools and education, and Catholic schools and education, provides resources for further dialogue about culture within Judaism and Catholicism and for Jewish-Christian dialogue. The thesis ends with some reflections on possible implications of the two cultures for discussions about the common good in education.
Author(s): Wiens, Kathleen
Author(s): Illman, Ruth
Date: 2018
Author(s): Illman, Ruth
Date: 2017
Abstract: This article focuses on religion and change in relation to music. Its starting point is the argument that music plays a central role as a driving force for religious change, as has recently been suggested by several researchers of religion. Music is seen to comprise elements that are central to contemporary religiosity in general: participation , embodiment, experience, emotions, and creativity. This article approaches the discussion from a Jewish point of view, connecting the theoretical perspective to an ethnographic case study conducted among progressive Jews in London with special focus on music, religious practice, and change. The article outlines the ongoing discussion on religion and change by focusing on features of individualism, personal choice, and processes of bricolage, critically assessing them from an inclusive point of view, focusing on individuals as simultaneously both personal and socially as well as culturally embedded agents. The analysis highlights a visible trend among the interviewees of wanting to combine a radically liberal theology with an increasingly traditional practice. In these accounts musical practices play a pivotal yet ambiguous role as instigators and insignia of religious change. As a conclusion, insights into more 'sonically aware religious studies' are suggested. We need a kind of … something that retains the tradition; that holds on to these precious traditions and rituals, the music and all the rest – but with an open mind and a much more questioning and open approach to Jewish law. In these words Rebecca 1 expresses what she strives to achieve in her work as an innovative yet historically perceptive and liturgically informed can-1 The names of the persons interviewed have been anonymised, and common Jewish names are used as aliases. See the reference list for or more detailed information about the ethnographic research material and research method.