Translated originally from Hebrew, Transnational Identities: Women, Art, and Migration in Contemporary Israel offers a critical discussion of women immigrants in Israel through an analysis of works by artists who immigrated to the country beginning in the 1990s. Though numerous aspects of the issue of women migrants have received intense academic scrutiny, no scholarly books to date have addressed the gender facets of the experiences of contemporary women immigrants in Israel. The book follows an up-to-date theoretical model, adopting critical tools from a wide range of fields and weaving them together through an in-depth qualitative study that includes the use of open interviews, critical theories, and analysis of artworks, offering a unique and compelling perspective from which to discuss this complex subject of citizenship and cultural belonging in an ethno-national state. It therefore stands to make a significant contribution to research into women's lives, citizenship studies, global migration, Jewish and national identity and women's art in contemporary Israel.
The book is divided into sections, each of which aims a spotlight on women artists belonging to a distinct groups of immigrants-the former Soviet Union, Ethiopia, and the Philippines-and shows how their artwork reflects various conflicts regarding citizenship and identity-related processes, dynamics of inclusion-exclusion, and power relations that characterize their experiences. Transnational Identities promotes a more nuanced, complex understanding of diversity among women from various groups and even within a specific ethnic group, as well as considering the "common differences" between women from diversified life experiences. To lay the groundwork for an analysis of the themes that recur in their artworks, Tal Dekel briefly discusses the notions of global migration and transnationalism and then examines gender and several other identity-related categories, notably religion, race, and class. These categories underline the complex nexus of overlapping and sometimes contradictory affiliations and identities that characterize migrating subjects in an age of globalization.
Transnational Identities integrates theories from various disciplines, including art history, citizenship studies and critical political theory, gender studies, cultural studies, and migration studies in an interdisciplinary manner that those teaching and studying in these fields will find relevant to their continued research.
Tal Dekel lectures in the Department of Art History and in the National Council of Jewish Women's Women and Gender Studies Program at Tel Aviv University, where she is also the head of the Women and Gender Forum. Dekel specializes in contemporary art and visual culture, taking a particular interest in gender and transnationalism. She has published extensively in international peer-reviewed journals and is the author of the book Gendered: Art and Feminist Theory.
Dekel's pioneering study on contemporary art and migration in Israel is based on in-depth interviews with the artists who are women who emigrated to Israel from the former Soviet Union and Ethiopia, as well as on women 'foreign workers' from the Philippines. It makes a unique contribution to scholarship on art and migration, Israel studies, and feminist art history. - Ruth E. Iskin, author of The Poster: Art, Advertising, Design, and Collecting, 1860s-1900s and Modern Women and Parisian Consumer Culture in Impressionist Painting
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