How have Jews experienced their environments and how have they engaged with specific places? How do Jewish spaces emerge, how are they contested, performed and used? With these questions in mind, this anthology focuses on the production of Jewish space and lived Jewish spaces and sheds light on their diversity, inter-connectedness and multi-dimensionality. By exploring historical and contemporary case studies from around the world, the essays collected here shift the temporal focus generally applied to Jewish civilization to a spatially oriented perspective. The reader encounters sites such as the gardens cultivated in the Ghettos during World War II, the Israeli development town of Netivot, Thornhill, an Orthodox suburb of Toronto, or new virtual sites of Jewish (Second) Life on the Internet, and learns about the Jewish landkentenish movement in Interwar Poland, the Jewish connection to the sea and the culinary landscapes of Russian Jews in New York. Employing an interdisciplinary approach, with a strong foothold in cultural history and cultural anthropology, this anthology introduces new methodological and conceptual approaches to the study of the spatial aspects of Jewish civilization.
Julia Brauch is a political scientist and Anna Lipphardt and Alexandra Nocke are both cultural anthropologists. They were all members of the research group MAKOM at the University of Potsdam, Germany, which between 2001 and 2007 focused on the meaning of place and space within Jewish civilization.
'Space is at the center of Jewish existence. Implicit in the historical wanderings through Diaspora is the yearning to place - lost, discovered, and constructed. By drawing upon classical theories and fresh new paradigms, this excellent volume demonstrates the intensity of the desire for place in Jewish societies and the ability of place to make time tangible.' Dan Ben-Amos, University of Pennsylvania, USA 'The spatial turn has taken a leap ahead in Jewish Topographies. Responding to a powerful historicist tradition in Jewish Studies, the contributors spatialize the historical narrative by exploring the creative and often conflict-filled production of Jewish spaces, places, and territorial identity. The viewpoint is decidedly global, insightfully contemporary, and refreshingly critical.' Edward Soja, UCLA, USA 'The idea of Jewish topography and the spaces and places -- physical and metaphysical -- in which Jews live, dream and interact forms the basis of a fascinating new book.' Jewish Federation of the Berkshires '...Jewish Topographies is one of the most profound and far-ranging contributions to interdisciplinary approaches to Jewish studies (many of its essayists place the latter in creative yet cogent conversation with architecture, cultural studies, anthropology and other disciplines) to appear in years, and its editors are to be congratulated for assembling such a vibrant collection of innovative scholarship. Anyone with a scholarly (or even casual), interest questions raised by historical commemoration, memory, tourism, anthropology, history, or spatial studies will strongly benefit from these lively and accessible investigations of the symbolic hierarchies and identities invested in place.' Ranen Omer-Sherman, University of Miami, USA '...an unequalled pioneering effort to institutionalize the engagement with Jewish place and space from an interdisciplinary platform.' Association for Jewish Studies 'Jewish Topographies goes far beyond geography. It