Interdisciplinary overview of American Jewish life post-Holocaust.
The 1950s and early 1960s have not traditionally been viewed as a particularly creative era in American Jewish life. On the contrary, these years have been painted as a period of inactivity and Americanization. As if exhausted by the traumas of World War II, the American Jewish community took a rest until suddenly reawakened by the 1967 Six-Day War and its implications for world Jewry. Recent scholarship, however, has demonstrated that previous assumptions about the early silence of American Jewry with regard to the Holocaust were exaggerated. And while historians have expanded their borders and definitions to encompass the postwar decades, scholars from other disciplines have been paying increasing attention to the unique literary, photographic, artistic, dramatic, political, and other cultural creations of this period and the ways in which they hearken back to not only the Holocaust itself but also to images of prewar Eastern Europe.
Reconstructing the Old Country: American Jewry in the Post-Holocaust Decades brings together scholars of literature, art, history, ethnography, and related fields to examine how the American Jewish community in the post-Holocaust era was shaped by its encounter with literary relics, living refugees, and other cultural productions which grew out of an encounter with Eastern European Jewish life from the pre-Holocaust era.
Eliyana R. Adler is an associate professor of history and Jewish studies at the Pennsylvania State University. Her publications include In Her Hands: The Education of Jewish Girls in Tsarist Russia (Wayne State University Press, 2011) and Jewish Literature and History: An Interdisciplinary Conversation, co-edited with Sheila Jelen.
Sheila E. Jelen is an associate professor of English, comparative literature, and Jewish studies at the University of Maryland, College Park. Her publications include Intimations of Difference: Dvora Baron in the Modern Hebrew Renaissance and Modern Jewish Literatures: Intersections and Boundaries, co-edited with Michael Kramer and Scott Lerner.
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