Invitation to collaborate in the edited volume "EPISTEMIC DISSIDENCES IN THE JEWISH LITERATURE OF THE SPANISH CIVIL WAR":
The Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) had an incommensurable impact on world literature (J. Pérez and W. Aycock, The Spanish Civil War in Literature, 1990; N. Binns, Voluntarios con gafas. Escritores extranjeros en la guerra civil española, 2009). During the conflict, intellectuals from all over the world either volunteered to fight fascism with weapons and with their pens in the Iberian Peninsula, or responded from abroad, writing manifests, poems or fiction. Later, a related literature emerged within the Spanish exile in Mexico, Argentina, France, Russia or North America. Even now, the Spanish Civil war remains the subject of intense interest in essays or historic novels.
Jewish literature followed indeed the 7000-9000 volunteers of Jewish origins who fought, photographed or provided medical care in Spain (G. Zaagsma, Jewish Volunteers, The International Brigades and The Spanish Civil War, 2017). This largely unexplored field of research has recently become the focus of initiatives in translation (A. Glaser and D. Weintraub (Eds.), Proletpen: America’s Rebel Yiddish Poets, 2005) and research (C.Gabbay, “Identidad, género y prácticas anarquistas en las memorias de Micaela Feldman y Etchebéhère”, 2016; E. Robins Sharpe, Mosaic Fictions, 2020), that introduce renewed readings of literary and cultural perspectives of the “Jewish century,” as depicted by Yuri Slezkine (2004). The unresolved question as to what should be defined as ‘Jewish literature’, and specifically, ‘Jewish literature of the Spanish Civil war’, has certainly impeded attention to this phenomenon because of the complexity of defining Jewish secular culture. However, the importance that this event – the preamble to World War II and the Shoah – had for the Jewish people, indicates the necessity for new research in the field of Jewish studies.
Diverse criticism has explored the literary Jewish question beyond explicitly Jewish topics, proposing to include in its definition a broad spectrum of characteristics related to structure (S. Sosnowski, La orilla inminente. Escritores judíos argentinos, 1987), imaginaries (D. Lockhart, Jewish Writers of Latin America–A Dictionary, 1997; C. Gabbay in (Ed.) Pilar Molina Taracena, Poesía de la guerra civil española: una perspectiva comparatista, 2019), language (C. Gabbay, in (Eds.) Michaela Wolf, et. al., ¿Pasarán? Kommunikation im Spanischen Bürgerkrieg. Interacting in the Spanish Civil War, 2020), and semiotics (B. Harshav in (Ed.) H. Wirth-Nesher, 1994), while wisely rejecting essentialism. Indeed, Jewish literature cannot be defined simply by the author’s ethnic origins (H. Wirth-Nesher (Ed.), What is Jewish Literature?, 1994). This implies that any text in which an intersection of ‘Jewish modes’ is manifested (see list below) could be identified as “Jewish literature”, despite the identity of its author. In particular, this volume will focus on epistemic dissidences – subtle or concealed forms of disobedience, writing against the grain of canonic literature and therefore producers of dissident knowledge – manifested through language, structure, sound and thought, nevertheless seeking to align these with the anti-fascist fight in the Spanish war. Furthermore, it proposes to examine how these epistemic dissidences were translated into internationalist linguistic codes and how they impacted on epistemic and aesthetic dimensions of world literature. The editor seeks contributions to a non-restrictive definition of ‘Jewish literature’. Taking into account that Jewish secular texts can be written within ‘soft’ frames of social and cultural coercion, negation, antisemitism and (neo-)liberalism – understood as forms of cultural homogenization – Jewishness is conceived as manifesting in translated forms or as favoring migrations of aesthetics or ideas into cosmopolitan or world literature. These elements may have eventually produced what we propose to call a poetics of frayed Jewishness.
This call thus invites researchers and writers to send proposals for unpublished papers devoted to the study of Jewish literature of the Spanish Civil War originally written in Spanish, French, German, Russian, Arabic, English, Yiddish, Hebrew, Ladino, Portuguese, Italian, Polish, Hungarian, or any other language. Papers will be accepted in English only. However, the edited volume encourages quotations in the original languages, as well as the integration of translations into English.
Papers can be devoted to Spanish Civil War literature by authors like Max Aub, Rubén Sinay, Charles Yale Harrison, Anna Seghers, Yaankev Glantz, Peretz Markish, Eduardo Samuel Calamaro, Agnyia Barto, Aaron Kurz, Margarita Nelken, César Tiempo, Ilya Ehrenburg, Bernardo Kordon, Clara Goldschmidt, Micaela Feldman, Ted Allan, Máximo José Kahn, Lan Adomián, Hanan Ayalti, José Grunfeld, Ephraim Rachman, Graciela Mochkofsy, and many others.
The edited volume proposes to frame Jewish literature of the Spanish civil war, through a consideration of literary texts (fiction, poetry, drama, autofiction, memories, collages) which problematize definitions of “secular Jewish literature” and which relate to the intersection of at least three of the following elements:
- Polyglossia and diglossia
- Cosmopolitan Imaginaries
- A focus on Ethics
- Converse identities, covered identities or undefinable identities
- Topics on exile and migration
- Jewish imaginaries/Jewish semantic fields
- Messianic ethos
- Epistemic disobedience
- Humour and Irony
- Focus on memory and oblivion
- Mythic or archetypic dimensions
- Talmudic-like dialogs and constructions
- Experiences of translation and self-translation
- Jewish metaphysics
- Intertextuality with Jewish texts
- Matriarchal representations or perspectives/Anti-patriarchic discourses
- Jewish poetic rhythms
- Jewish literary structures/Interrogative sequences
- Jewish topics, liturgy
Please send your proposals by January 6, 2020 to firstname.lastname@example.org
Papers due: September 15, 2020.