AdvisorLevitt, Laura, 1960-
Committee memberAlpert, Rebecca T. (Rebecca Trachtenberg), 1950-
Gran, Peter, 1941-
Permanent link to this recordhttp://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12613/1567
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AbstractThis project explores how and why an Americanized form of Zionism became an effective movement in American Jewish life. In the quest for a just and lasting resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, most scholarly attention has been focused on the state (and people) of Israel and the people of Palestine, and their efforts to resolve the conflict that has held them in its grip over the past century. As a result, we have focused too little attention on the role of support for U.S. nationalism in the American Jewish community in sustaining the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I argue likewise that a critical juncture in this process occurred in the early twentieth century, as the United States emerged as an international power. American Jewish support for Zionism overlaps in many ways with Progressivism. Many of the early leaders of Americanized Zionism, such as Horace M. Kallen and Justice Louis Brandeis, began their careers as Progressive reformers and brought their ideas about social and political action with them into the Zionist movement. Brandeis in particular played a critical role in making Zionism acceptable to American Jews, in no small part by asserting that the Zionism he advocated was required no commitment to emigration. As this Americanized version of Zionism has become normalized in American Jewish life, the principle of Jewish sovereignty has become widely understood among American Jews to be an essential guarantor of Jewish safety. To understand the roots and implications of this stance, I explore the genealogy of the idea of sovereignty, as well as the binary opposition of “Arabs” and “Jews” in Euro-American thought. Americanized Zionism, I conclude, is less a product of Jewish ethnicity or religion than enactment of a commitment to U.S. nationalism as a fundamental aspect of American Jewish identity.
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(Re)conceptualizing Intellectual Histories of Africana Studies: Preliminary ConsiderationsNorment, Nathaniel; Carr, Greg (Greg E.) (Temple University. Libraries, 2011)The overarching objective of this thesis outlines the preliminary rationale for the development of a comprehensive review of the sources that seek to understand disciplinarity, Africana Studies, and Africana intellectual histories. It is the conceptual overlay for an extended work that will eventually offer a (re)conceptualization of Africana Studies intellectual genealogies.
THE JEWISH ANIMAL IN POST-HOLOCAUST JEWISH AMERICAN POETRYOrvell, Miles; Lee, Sue-Im; Levitt, Laura; Ostriker, Alicia S. (Temple University. Libraries, 2020)By the time anti-Jewish Nazi propaganda was widely analogizing Jews to rodents and other nonhuman animals in need of extermination, the accusation that Jewish people might be subhuman, or nonhuman, had been informing non-Jewish perceptions of the Jewish people for hundreds of years. As Jay Geller has detailed, casting Jews as lone wolves, or as rats or mice (and beyond), has a long and powerful history. Indeed, this insidious maneuver—dehumanize a threatening community through animalization in order to justify its oppression, or at times, extermination—is familiar to virtually every marginalized community and absolutely relies on consensus that the “natural” order places human beings above animals. This dissertation argues that post-Holocaust, Jewish American poets help us reconsider the boundaries of “human” and “animal” in the American imagination, ultimately creating an animal poetics that flips the script, demonstrating that yes, we are all animals, which demands not only a human commitment to justice and respect between cultures but also to ecological justice and respect between species. Through examining prominent animal poems by three Jewish American post-Holocaust poets, Gerald Stern, Adrienne Rich, and Maxine Kumin, this dissertation asks, “What does it mean to behave like a Jew when it comes to our ecological connections to other animal species?” and, more specifically, “What is the connection between post-Holocaust Jewish American poets, ecologically informed animal representation, and Jewishness?” My readings model a novel approach to these poets’ work by using Jewish traditions, such as teshuvah (an atonement ritual) and biblical prophecy, to illuminate layers of meaning in the poems that might otherwise have stayed shadowed, particularly for readers without ready access to a Jewish framework. Because these poets’ animal poems are best read as both ecological as well as Jewish, this dissertation makes a case for including animal poems by Stern, Rich, and Kumin in the syllabi and anthologies that represent American ecological literature and ecopoetry—and not just including them, in fact, but contextualizing them within a Jewish framework. All three poets suggest that behaving like a Jew, when it comes to nonhuman animals, means taking responsibility for our brutal humanity as well as our essential animality—which is at least as often noble and good as it is otherwise. By highlighting the value of a Jewish ecocritical lens, this dissertation suggests that there may be as many culturally situated versions of ecocriticism as there are cultures, which could increase our appreciation of our interconnection within and beyond our species. Further, by bringing a Jewish lens to these three Jewish poets’ animal poems, this dissertation situates Jewish animality specifically as a source of strength and wisdom. In so doing, this project defiantly counters millennia of efforts to dehumanize Jewish people, instead reminding that all human beings’ ability to thrive on this earth requires mutual respect between, and within, animal species. Ultimately, this dissertation argues that these Jewish American poets, who came into their adulthood and poetic expressions in the shadow of the Nazi Holocaust, light the way to a Jewish—and human—animal whose survival will not depend on random birthplace but on the dignifying interconnection of all animal species, and all the varieties therein.
IDENTITY AND IMPROVISATION: ARCHAEOLOGY AT THE AFRICAN AMERICAN COMMUNITY OF TIMBUCTOO, NEW JERSEY.Stewart, R. Michael (Richard Michael); Orr, David Gerald, 1942-; Garrett, Paul B., 1968-; Mullins, Paul R., 1962-; Veit, Richard F., 1968- (Temple University. Libraries, 2013)This dissertation focuses on the African American community of Timbuctoo, Westampton, New Jersey. Timbuctoo was founded circa 1825 by formerly enslaved and free born African Americans. The community operated as a "station" along the Underground Railroad. At its peak Timbuctoo had over 125-150 residents and supported a general store, "colored" school, AMEZ church, cemetery and several homesteads. Today the only standing markers of the nineteenth century community are the gravestones in the cemetery. In 2007, Westampton Township acquired roughly four acres of the nearly forty arces that once comprised Timbuctoo. From 2009-2011, Christopher Barton and David Orr conducted archaeological work at the community. The focus of this dissertation was the excavation and analysis of 15,042 artifacts recovered from the Davis Site, Feature 13. The Davis Site was purchased by William Davis 1879. Davis and his wife Rebecca raised their five children in a 12x16ft home constructed on the 20x100ft property. Between the 1920s to the 1940s the foundation of the Davis home was used as a community trash midden. Specifically, this dissertation looks at the practices of yard sweeping, architecture, construction materials, home canning and the consumption of commodified foods. A practice theory of improvisation is posited as a working model to explaining the reflexive practices used by marginalized residents to contest social and economic repression. This theory of improvisation seeks to complicate narratives of poverty through underscoring the dynamic disposition of material culture and everyday life.