Jewish Migrations and their Effect on Modern Urban Cultures
This call for articles addresses research on the newest approaches and findings on the spatial dimension and the dynamics between Jewish migration and its effect on urban environments.
At the edge of modernity, the metropolis was characterized by the mobility of people. Telegram wires, telephones, railways, bicycles, trams, and automobiles moved people and/or their ideas ever faster in and in-between cities around the globe. Jewish protagonists and groups were also caught up in these migration patterns and flow across continents in the 19th and 20th centuries. As part of European migration towards the Promised Land of the USA, or as a result of transnational networks, urbanization, or colonizing projects, Jews sought economic opportunities, freedom from antisemitism, proximity to family members, or political and cultural liberty and exploration in new cities. Arriving in different urban amalgamations, they shaped local neighborhoods and larger urban structures, reformulating both the urban social framework and Jewish identities (Brinkmann 2013). Interactional spaces between Jewish migrants and urban populations – including both Jews and non-Jews – evolved, expressing multifarious cultural articulations of the diverse and complex experiences of the ever-expanding and ever-transforming city (Schlör 2005).
The ’spatial turn’ has explored the Jewish relationship with urban milieus for some twenty years, enriching Jewish and urban studies with examples of the multiple aspects of Jewish/non-Jewish relations in different metropolitan structures; the uniqueness of local settings, the increasing multiplicity of Jewishness, and Jewish influence on urban culture (Brauch/Lipphardt/Nocke 2008; Mann 2012; Sen/Silverman 2014). Synagogues, cemeteries, department stores, coffee houses, operas and theatres, industries, and modern architectural developments, all features of the modern metropolis, have been linked to and associated with Jewish presence and agency. But how were the complex links between arriving Jewish migrants and transmigrants and local, urban settings negotiated? What happened to concrete constructions – tenements, streets, public spaces – and social, multicultural milieus when Jews and their ideas, material culture, languages, and rituals arrived or passed through? How did Jewish migration experiences influence local settings, and what role did migration play in the overall Jewish relationship to metropolises and their populations?
The instability and uncertainty experienced by both Jewish migrants and their urban hosts seem particularly pivotal to the 20th century. The First and Second World Wars, the Holocaust, the establishment of the State of Israel, the global process of decolonization, and political upheavals both encouraged and forced Jews to leave their homes. When arriving in or passing through cities, their – to others – unfamiliar languages, clothes, rituals, and objects mingled with the urban setup of diverse ethnic and religious populations. Nonetheless, Jewish migrants were often also perceived as dangerous to both established Jews and ideas of national homogeneity (Aschheim 1982; Ewence 2019). We are, therefore thus, particularly interested in how the irregularity, ambiguity and instability experienced by both Jewish migrants and already existing urban populations, were negotiated. In environments described as multifarious and diverse, what role did newly arrived migrants play in the processes of shaping and understanding the city?
We aim to gather the newest approaches and findings within this area, in order to discuss the dynamics between Jewish migration and its effect on urban environments. In an upcoming issue of the Journal Mobile Culture Studies (peer-reviewed, online, open access, https:/
– the representation of migration experiences in cities through cultural practices and rituals in public spaces;
– the dynamics of the relationship between Jews and non-Jews, between both different migrant groups, and arriving and settled groups;
– the emotional, sensory and/or spatial dimensions of the urban experience of both established and arriving urban inhabitants.
Proposals, including an abstract (max 350 words) and an academic biography (max 100 words) are invited to be submitted via email to Maja Hultman (email@example.com) and Susanne Korbel (firstname.lastname@example.org) by January 7th, 2022. Authors of selected proposals will be notified by the end of January, and final manuscripts must be submitted before July 31th, 2022.
Steven Aschheim, Brothers and Strangers: The East European Jew in German and German-Jewish Consciousness, 1800-1923 (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1982).
Julia Brauch, Anna Lipphardt, Alexandra Nocke eds., Jewish Topographies: Visions of Space, Traditions of Place (Aldershot: Ashgate 2008).
Tobias Brinkmann ed., Points of Passage (London, New York: Berghahn, 2013).
Hannah Ewence, The Alien Jew in the British Imagination, 181-1905: Space, Mobility and Territoriality (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019).
Barbara E. Mann, Space and Place in Jewish Studies (Piscataway: Rutgers University Press, 2012).
Joachim Schlör, Das Ich der Stadt (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Rupprecht 2005).
Sen Arijit, Lisa Silverman eds., Making Place: Space and Embodiment in the City (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2014).