Patronymic Salvage: Paintings, Photographs, and Daughters in Search of their Fathers
Sheila Jelen, Comparative Literature and Jewish Studies at University of Maryland.
Abstract: Through an analysis of two image books featuring East European Jewish life in the years before the Holocaust with an eye toward "salvage poetics," or the poetics that arise out of post-Holocaust popular ethnographic constructions of pre-Holocaust images, in this lecture we consider how ethnic image books and family albums have become interchangeable in post-Holocaust America. Mayer Kirshenblatt's They Called Me Mayer July (2007) and Alter Kacyzne's Poyln (1999) were both edited by the daughters of the artists whose work is featured therein. Even while identifying their fathers in and around the images in the two books, each daughter acknowledges the inevitable anonymity that pertains to subjects captured just before a cataclysmic event and observed by strangers after it; not every person in every image can be named, as they can in a family album. But within the genre of post-Holocaust image books used to focalize the American-Jewish sense of community and history, these albums occupy a familiar, ethnic, place.
Marni Davis examines American Jews’ complicated relationship to alcohol during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the years of the national prohibition movement’s rise and fall. Davis offers a novel perspective on a previously unstudied area of American Jewish economic activity: the making and selling of liquor, wine, and beer. Alcohol commerce played a crucial role in Jewish immigrant acculturation and the growth of Jewish communities in the United States. But prohibition’s triumph cast a pall on American Jews’ history in the alcohol trade, forcing them to revise, clarify, and defend their communal and civic identities -- both to their fellow Americans and to themselves.
Join us for an evening with filmmaker Robin Hessman and a screening of her award-winning documentary, MY PERESTROIKA (2010). The film tells the stories of five Moscow schoolmates who were brought up behind the Iron Curtain, witnessed the joy and confusion of glasnost, and reached adulthood right as the world changed around them. A Q&A with the director will follow the film.
For more information please visit myperestroika.com
Record by the College of Arts & Sciences at the University of Kentucky April 10th, 2014
Special thanks to host Janice Fernheimer, Director of Jewish Studies
Divahn features the Middle Eastern and Sephardic Jewish Music of Galeet Dardashti.
Iranian-descended singer Galeet Dardashti leads Divahn's edgy all-female power-house ensemble. The group has engendered an international following, performing in venues ranging from international concert halls to the most prestigious clubs in NYC. Infusing traditional and original Middle Eastern Jewish songs with sophisticated harmonies, entrancing improvisations, and funky arrangements, Divahn's thrilling live shows feature lush string arrangements, eclectic Indian, Middle Eastern, and Latin percussion, and vocals spanning Hebrew, Judeo-Spanish, Persian, Arabic, and Aramaic. “Divan,” a word common to Hebrew, Persian, and Arabic, means a collection of songs or poetry. Through their music, the group creatively underscores common ground between diverse Middle Eastern cultures and religion.