East European Jewish Affairs Call for Papers: Special Issue

"Yiddish in the City"

East European Jewish Affairs

In contrast to most national cultures, modern Yiddish culture came into being in geographically disconnected landscapes and without the support of a nation state. Recently, scholars have begun to think about Yiddish culture in global terms, imagini Yiddish cultural landscape in which people and communities are connected through a wide ranging exchange of periodicals, theatre productions, literature, chorus performances, congresses, exhibitions, and political ideologies, just to name a few. W seemingly calls for further research in contemporary discussions about Yiddish cultur however, how exactly, urban spaces, specifically cities, contributed to what we might “Yiddishland.” Several recent studies have examined Yiddish culture in the context of individual cities. Scott Ury, for example, argued that the Yiddish public sphere consolidated an ethno-linguistic community among Warsaw Jews during the 1905-19 revolution, providing new collective bonds and a sense of order for recent arrivals struggling with the disorienting experiences of life in a big city. In addition, Elissa Bemporad’s study of Minsk examined how Yiddish culture and language shaped the specific context of Minsk as an urban space in the Soviet Union. Such works about Yiddish in urban contexts would benefit from a transnational, interdisciplinary approa In the wake of the “transnational turn” and the recent push to think of Jewish and worl history as being shaped by an on-going stream of migrations, as in Rebecca Kobrin’s study of Bialystok, is it helpful to re-address the ways in which we evaluate the role that cities played in the development of Yiddish culture? Given the transnationality of global Jewish culture and history, how does an analysis of a variety of cities, both large and small, affect our understanding of not only what we might call a transnational Yiddishland, but the development of Yiddish culture more broadly?

This proposed special issue of East European Jewish Affairs seeks to interrogate the idea of “Yiddish in the city” within the contexts of transnational and migration history. Papers are encouraged to explore notions of centers, hubs, margins, and borderlands; cultural and national exchanges of ideas; the role that urban space plays in idealizing a transnational community; and the role (both symbolic and real) that language played/plays as part of a multilingual, transnational Yiddishland, just to name a few issues. Papers might also explore the role that institutions, politics, gatherings, and performances played in rooting Yiddish culture locally and internationally.

Submission Guidelines

Please send a 250-word abstract of your proposed paper to EEJA by October 30, 2018. Decisions will be made by December 2018. If accepted, papers will be due in for peer review by May 30, 2019.
All email correspondence should be sent to eeja@colorado.edu.

Editorial information

  • Guest Editor: Karen Auerbach, University of North Carolina
  • Guest Editor: Nick Underwood, German Historical Institute West, University of California Berkeley
  • Editor in Chief: David Schneer, University of Colorado Boulder
  • Editor in Chief: Anna Shternshis, University of Toronto