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Author(s): Dasgupta, Sudeep
Date: 2024
Abstract: The racial formation of nationalism from the perspective of migration produces multiple forms of “whiteness”. “Not quite/not white” (Bhabha) translated racial difference into a culturally-hybrid formulation of the postcolonial subject in postcolonial theory. The consequence of translating racial difference into culturally hybridity also diluted a focus on the nation by focusing on the diasporic subject. In Eastern Europe however, “whiteness” is firstly marked by the ambiguous history of the racial other within the nation rather than the historical colonization of racial others beyond. Further, the often traumatic displacement of racial others in/from Eastern Europe has more to do with forms of nationalism than colonialism. Thus, the displacement of racial others in relation to Eastern European nationalism take on an importance largely missing in deracinated postcolonial condemnations of the nation. Europe-based Israeli artist Yael Bartana’s And Europe will be stunned: the Polish trilogy, provides a provocative invitation to think the disturbing place of race in the formation of nationalism in Eastern Europe precisely from these two dimensions: the history of racial difference (Jews) within the nation (Poland), and the centering of racial “returns” for the past and future of nations both in Eastern Europe and beyond it. Through film, public performance and spoken/written word, And Europe… firstly stages the nation from the historical perspective of displaced/exterminated racial others. Through a provocative call to return of the Jews into the Polish nation from which they fled or were exterminated, Bartana proposes a ghostly and literal racially hybridity within the nation to counter the ongoing construction of “whiteness” in Eastern Europe. Secondly, And Europe.. also performs a powerful critique of the problematic politics of return in Israel which deploys Europe’s treatment of its Jewish others to now consecrate the Israeli nation as an exclusively Jewish state. The currency of “whiteness” from the doubled perspective of a future Poland and the present in Israel delivers contradictory returns for the nation by producing hybridity here in Europe and homogeneity there outside it. By thinking “whiteness” for/against the nation, the essay shows how the returns of race and of racial others can help think a hybrid nation both within Eastern Europe and outside it. Seen from a global perspective, “Whiteness” in Eastern Europe thus offers the racially hybrid nation rather than the culturally hybrid postcolonial subject as a counter to the racism of contemporary nationalisms.
Date: 2013
Abstract: In the past few decades, Poland has seen a growing number of attempts to reclaim its Jewish past through traditional forms such as historiographic revision, heritage preservation, and monument building. But a unique new mode of artistic, performative, often participatory “memory work” has been emerging alongside these conventional forms, growing in its prevalence and increasingly catching the public eye. This new genre of memorial intervention is characterized by its fast-moving, youthful, innovative forms and nontraditional venues and its socially appealing, dialogic, and digitally networked character as opposed to a prior generation of top-down, slow moving, ethnically segregated, mono-vocal styles. It also responds to the harsh historical realities brought to light by scholars of the Jewish-Polish past with a mandate for healing. This article maps the landscape of this new genre of commemoration projects, identifying their core features and investigating their anatomy via three case studies: Rafał Betlejewski’s I Miss You Jew!; Public Movement’s Spring in Warsaw; and Yael Bartana’s Jewish Renaissance Movement in Poland. Analyzing their temporalities, scopes, modalities and ambiences, as well as the new visions for mutual identification and affiliation that they offer Poles and Jews, we approach these performances not as representations, but rather as embodied experiences that stage and invite participation in “repertoires” of cultural memory. Different from simple reenactments, this new approach may be thought of as a subjunctive politics of history—a “what if” proposition that plays with reimagining and recombining a range of Jewish and Polish memories, present-day realities, and future aspirations.
Author(s): Almog, Yael
Date: 2018
Author(s): Cairns, Lucille
Date: 2015
Abstract: This book considers the differing emotional investments in Israel of, on the one hand, Jews physically domiciled in Israel and, on the other hand, diasporic Jews living outside Israel for whom the country nonetheless forms a central point of affect. The book’s purpose is to trace how these two types of investment are represented by francophone Jewish writers. Israel is at once a problematic geopolitical reality in international politics and a salient topos within Jewish cultural imaginaries that transcend national boundaries. However, it has often been claimed that Israel has a “special” relationship with France, which until 1967 was its greatest ally. Israel has a large francophone community (some 800,000), while France has the largest Jewish community in Europe (some 600,000). But Franco-Israeli relations have undergone radical, largely negative transformations under the Fifth Republic (1958- ). The scope of the book is wide, addressing the following questions. How do francophone Jewish writers represent Israel in their literary works? What responses to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict do they express both in these works and in non-literary discourse (interviews and journalistic articles)? What is the role in those responses of emotion, affect, cognition, and ethics? To answer these questions, the book examines 44 different autobiographies, memoirs and novels published between 1965 and 2012 by 27 different authors, both male and female, covering the full cultural spectrum of Jews: Ashkenazic, Sephardic, and Mizrahi. The approach of the book is interdisciplinary, combining literary analysis with insights from the domains of history, journalism, philosophy, politics, psychoanalysis, and sociology.
Author(s): Gruber, Ruth Ellen
Date: 2002
Abstract: More than half a century after the Holocaust, in countries where Jews make up just a tiny fraction of the population, products of Jewish culture (or what is perceived as Jewish culture) have become very viable components of the popular public domain. But how can there be a visible and growing Jewish presence in Europe, without the significant presence of Jews? Ruth Ellen Gruber explores this phenomenon, traveling through Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, Austria, Italy, and elsewhere to observe firsthand the many facets of a remarkable trend. Across the continent, Jewish festivals, performances, publications, and study programs abound. Jewish museums have opened by the dozen, and synagogues and Jewish quarters are being restored, often as tourist attractions. In Europe, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, klezmer music concerts, exhibitions, and cafes with Jewish themes are drawing enthusiastic--and often overwhelmingly non-Jewish--crowds.

In what ways, Gruber asks, do non-Jews embrace and enact Jewish culture, and for what reasons? For some, the process is a way of filling in communist-era blanks. For others, it is a means of coming to terms with the Nazi legacy or a key to building (or rebuilding) a democratic and tolerant state. Clearly, the phenomenon has as many motivations as manifestations. Gruber investigates the issues surrounding this "virtual Jewish world" in three specific areas: the reclaiming of the built heritage, including synagogues, cemeteries, and former ghettos and Jewish quarters; the representation of Jewish culture through tourism and museums; and the role of klezmer and Yiddish music as typical "Jewish cultural products." Although she features the relationship of non-Jews to the Jewish phenomenon, Gruber also considers its effect on local Jews and Jewish communities and the revival of Jewish life in Europe 
Editor(s): Polonovski, Max
Date: 2002
Abstract: La culture juive possède peut-être plus que toute autre, une dimension européenne, compte tenu des déplacements et des vicissitudes que l'Histoire a imposé au peuple juif au cours des siècles. Ce lien culturel reste très perceptible à travers les éléments patrimoniaux particuliers qu'ont légué les diverses communautés juives au sein des nations de l'Europe qui les ont accueillies. La valeur historique, artistique ou architecturale de ce patrimoine en fonction du rôle et de l'importance des communautés juives dépend le plus souvent de facteurs propres à l'histoire de chaque pays. Cependant, un destin historique commun transcende les différences nationales. L'évaluation de la qualité artistique ou de l'intérêt historique du patrimoine juif en Europe apparaît de ce fait comme une démarche difficile. Elle est d'autant plus souhaitable sur un plan global qu'ainsi elle permettra de rééquilibrer une vision parfois restrictive de certains aspects de ce patrimoine, évalués selon des critères qualitatifs ou quantitatifs reposant sur des références à un patrimoine plus traditionellement reconnu. C'est la raison qui a conduit la direction du Patrimoine à organiser au musée d'Art et d'Histoire du Judaïsme à Paris une conférence internationale consacrée au patrimoine juif européen en janvier 1999. Ce colloque, premier du genre organisé en Europe, et réunissant des universitaires, des architectes, des responsables de collections et des représentants d'institutions, était consacré à la connaissance, à la conservation et à la mise en valeur du patrimoine juif dans les pays d'Europe.