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Jewish Space Reloaded

An Introduction

Eszter B. Gantner and Jay (Koby) Oppenheim

In 1996 the historian Diana Pinto published her often since quoted and discussed article on ‘A New Jewish Identity for Post-1989 Europe’. She was one of the first Jewish intellectuals to reflect on the fall of the Iron Curtain and the resulting political changes and their possible consequences for Jewish communities in Europe. In her article, she introduced the term ‘Jewish space’ that motivates the focus of this issue, as well as the term ‘voluntarily Jewish’, which describes the construction of identity free of external prescription. Pinto situates Jewish space in the context of the Erinnerungspolitik European democracies engaged in during the 1980s, when Holocaust memorialisation began to assume an institutional form through the establishment of Jewish museums, research institutes and exhibitions.

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Performing the Hyphen

Engaging German-Jewishness at the Jewish Museum Berlin

Jackie Feldman and Anja Peleikis

The Jewish Museum Berlin (JMB) is a dynamic, performative space that negotiates between representing the Jew as an integral part of German history and as ultimate Other. While this tension has been documented through the political history of the museum (Lackmann 2000; Pieper 2006; Young 2000), we focus on the dynamics of guided tours and special events. We claim that guiding and festival events at JMB marginalise Holocaust memory and present an image of Jews of the past that promotes a multicultural vision of present-day Germany. In guiding performances, the identity of the guide as German/Jewish/Muslim is part of the guiding performance, even when not made explicit. By comparing tour performances for various publics, and the 'storytelling rights' granted by the group, we witness how visitors' scripts and expectations interact with the museum's mission that it serve as a place of encounter (Ort der Begegnung). As German-Jewish history at JMB serves primarily as a cosmopolitan template for intercultural relations, strongly affiliated local Jews may not feel a need for the museum. Organised groups of Jews from abroad, however, visit it as part of the Holocaust memorial landscape of Berlin, while many local Jews with weaker affiliations to the Jewish community may find it an attractive venue for performing their more fluid Jewish identities – for themselves and for others.

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“Something Outside of Ourselves”

Crossing Boundaries in New Disability Documentary Cinema

Anna Debinski

Documentary film has traditionally perpetuated damaging cultural understandings of disability. However, Astra Taylor’s Examined Life (2008) and Bonnie Sherr Klein’s Shameless: The Art of Disability (2006) utilize documentary techniques to problematize the culturally constructed boundary between disability and able-bodiedness. Spectators are dragged into simultaneously traditional and innovative relationships with the spaces, bodies, and lives inhabited by the documentaries’ disabled subjects. These relationships encourage connection and intimacy even as they contain moments of distance and alienation. The films’ ambivalent representations foster an appreciation of disabled bodies as a reflection of valuable human diversity and a denaturalization of disability’s Otherness. As examples of new disability documentary cinema, the documentaries reflect the political potential of complex and affective representations of disabled subjects.

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Crossing Boundaries, Exploring the Frontier

Recollections of an Intercultural Wanderer

Ullrich Kockel

Taking Park's postulate of a 'marginal man' as its starting point, this essay reviews some of the key ideas and approaches that have underpinned the development of the Anthropological Journal of European Cultures from its inception. It concentrates on a discussion of the concept of 'cultures' - liminal, hybrid or otherwise - in different contexts and from different perspectives - boundaries and frontiers, places and spaces, migrants and memory - before turning towards the question of what and where Europe is, and what anthropology might have to say on it, concluding with reflections on AJEC's past, present and future contribution. An appendix provides details of the first twenty-one volumes of the journal.

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Nicola Bermingham

Philip McDermott (2012), Migrant Languages in the Public Space: A Case Study from Northern Ireland (Münster: LIT), 320 pp., Pb: €29.90, ISBN: 978-3643800992.

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Jewish Space and the Beschneidungsdebatte in Germany

Multiculturalism, Ritual and Cultural Reproduction

Jay (Koby) Oppenheim

The concept of Jewish space, initially conceived by Diana Pinto as a unique European development, marked a critical shift in relations between Jews and non-Jews, the latter embracing a Jewish past as constitutive of their countries' own. The hoped-for European multiculturalism failed to blossom and Jewish space, in Pinto's assessment, has not born the fruit of its potential. To investigate the shortfall of Jewish space, this article examines the 2012 debate on ritual male circumcision in Germany (Beschneidungsdebatte) that drew contemporary Jewish practice into the public eye. Pinto's formulation is premised on a multicultural society that actively works to blunt intolerance, a condition whose fulfilment in contemporary Europe remains incomplete and uneven. Moreover, this attempt to extend the integration of history into memory was stymied by its lack of a living subject. While Jews constitute a long-standing minority population with a unique history in Germany, their success in establishing a shared Jewish space is tied to the broader project of tolerance and integration facing immigrant and minority groups in Western Europe.

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James E. Cutting, Catalina Iricinschi, and Kaitlin L. Brunick

This article presents a new method to create maps that chart changes across a cinematic narrative. These are unlike narrative spaces previously discussed in the literature—they are abstract, holistic, dynamic representations based on objective criteria. The analysis considers three films (All About Eve, Inception, and MASH) by counting the co-occurrences of main characters within scenes, and 12 Angry Men by counting their co-occurrences within shots. The technique used combines the statistical methods of correlation, multidimensional scaling, and Procrustes analysis. It then plots the trajectories of characters across these spaces in All About Eve and Inception, regions for characters in Inception and MASH, and compares the physical arrangement of jurors with their dramatic roles in 12 Angry Men. These maps depict the changing structures in the visual narrative. Finally, through consideration of statistical learning, the article explores the plausibility that these maps mimic relations in the minds of film viewers.

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A "Safe Space" to Debate Colonial Legacy

The University of Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology and the Campaign to Return a Looted Benin Altarpiece to Nigeria

Johanna Zetterstrom-Sharp and Chris Wingfield

In February 2016, students at Jesus College, Cambridge voted unanimously to repatriate to Nigeria a bronze cockerel looted during the violent British expedition into Benin City in 1897. The college, however, decided to temporarily relocate Okukor to the University’s Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. This article outlines the discussions that occurred during this process, exploring how the Museum was positioned as a safe space in which uncomfortable colonial legacies, including institutionalized racism and cultural patrimony rights, could be debated. We explore how a stated commitment to postcolonial dialogue ultimately worked to circumvent a call for postcolonial action. Drawing on Ann Stoler’s and Elizabeth Edwards’s discussions of colonial aphasia, this article argues that anthropology museums risk enabling such circumvention despite confronting their own institutional colonial legacies.

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Algorithmic Art: Shuffling Space and Time

Art-Science Dialogues and a Techno-Saga

Linda Chiu-han Lai

Why are art-science dialogues important, and how should they take place? How do our everyday culture and institutional constructs define and delimit such possibilities? Why do contemporary art lovers still presume they are immune to and from scientific knowledge? How should a visitor of a media art event make sense of the machine work? Algorithmic Art: Shuffling Space & Time (AA) directed these questions to technical experts, artists, art lovers, and the public through a series of themed discussions and a six-hundred-square-meter indoor playground of machines and computational installations. AA also sought to key in on the question of survival. What mark has the struggling existence of the twenty-year-old School of Creative Media at the City University of Hong Kong left to Hong Kong’s (media) art history? The school remains the only pedagogic research center in Hong Kong where conceptual issues of new media art creation and how to “live” in an age of big data are interrogated through scholarship and practice.

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New Mobilities, Spaces, and Ideas to Market

European Travel Writers and the Making of a Genre—Comment

Steven D. Spalding

capitalist, and, like his equator-crossing predecessors, seems prepared to internalize certain moments of his journey as encounters with a universal sublime. In Reimann-Dawe’s intriguing examples, familiar ways of thinking about African space and experience