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dc.contributor.authorTeitelbaum, Elijah
dc.description.abstractIn the mid 20th-century, American Jewish communities were participating both in an unprecedented level of social integration and an accompanying uncertainty regarding their personal and communal heritage. Jews were increasingly becoming like mainstream Americans, but processes of suburbanization and integration left the survival of their traditions, culture, and social cohesion an open question. Within this context, there was a marked surge in attention to the Eastern European Jewish past, valourized as “the Old World,” as a source of heritage and a stable point of reference for American Ashkenazi identities. A plethora of books, plays, films, and other cultural materials emphasize that, while Jews certainly belonged in the American middle class, their values were drawn from a different wellspring. There is growing scholarly attention to the relationship between these two intertwining phenomena in the American Jewish mid-century: the integration of Jews into the American mainstream and their simultaneous turn to nostalgic history. However, the direction of the current conversation firmly attends to either historical or literary dimensions of nostalgia for the OldWorld.What is overlooked is the manner in which many of these media – particularly photobooks, stage plays, film, and museum exhibitions – are visual in nature, and communicate their nostalgic message through their constitution as an image. This thesis contributes novel considerations for the discussion of mid-century Jewish nostalgia by examining the Old World’s representation between the 1960s and the mid-1980s through the lens of visual culture, foregrounding Jewish audiences’ experiences of images as fundamental to understanding the value of this nostalgia. Ultimately, this attention to experience leads to rethinking the way in which American Jews were interacting with their surrounding spaces in the mid-century, especially in suburban environments, and explores the meaning of the Old World’s nostalgic image as a meaningful vision of imagined Jewish heritage and cultural autonomy.
dc.description.sponsorshipThe Cambridge Commonwealth, European & International Trust: Cambridge International Scholarship
dc.rightsAll Rights Reserved
dc.subjectVisual Culture
dc.subjectJewish Studies
dc.subjectUnited States of America
dc.subjectMid-20th Century
dc.titleReappraising an American Jewish Nostalgic Image: The Old World as Mid-20th Century Visual Experience
dc.type.qualificationnameDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)
dc.publisher.institutionUniversity of Cambridge
dc.type.qualificationtitlePhD in Theology and Religious Studies
cam.supervisorWeiss, Daniel

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