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Continuities and Ruptures: Artistic Responses to Jewish Migration, Internment and Exile in the Long Twentieth Century

Posted By Lisa Peschel, University of York, Friday, October 4, 2013

Continuities and Ruptures: Artistic Responses to Jewish Migration, Internment and Exile in the Long Twentieth Century

International Conference, 6–8 July 2014

University of Leeds, UK

Call for Papers (deadline Monday 4 November 2013)

Sponsored by the Worldwide Universities Network Fund for International Research Collaboration project ‘Music, Memory and Migration in the Post-Holocaust Jewish Experience: Renewal and Transformation’

Displacement has been an integral part of the twentieth-century Jewish experience. Whether forced due to Nazi persecution, compelled by other oppressive factors, or entered into voluntarily in the hope of a new start, migration, internment and exile have affected musical, theatrical and literary output by Jewish artists in myriad ways. For example, members of the conference committee are currently researching topics including the music of Jewish immigrants to South Africa; the works of composers, playwrights and authors before, during and after incarceration in the Terezin/Theresienstadt ghetto; Holocaust songbooks; and Jewish artistic expression in the Soviet Union. They are also investigating the question: what does it mean to perform these works today, or even create new artistic works stimulated by them?

Conference themes

We invite proposals for papers, panels, workshops and performances that address the following questions and related topics:

  •  How do artists represent, or resist representing, displacement in their works?
  • What other types of traces does displacement leave upon the artists‟ works (e.g. hybrid styles, transitions into different languages or musical and theatrical idioms, etc)?
  • How do artists represent the „before‟ and „after‟ -- the old home and the new?
  • How has displacement affected the archives in which these works have been found -- what was brought from home, what was recreated in a new land, what has been irretrievably lost?
  • How does cultural production function as an archive, and what does it preserve? How do artistic works represent rupture or continuity -- or even effect rupture or continuity -- from a time before exile, through the period of transition, into a new milieu?
  • How do the works represent continuity of or rupture with particular styles (e.g. cultural modernism) and social/political movements (e.g. socialism, Zionism)?
  •  Why and how are such works performed and published today? Why are present-day audiences drawn to these works, and what do they take away from them? How do performers, producers and publishers frame such works for the audience, and to what ends (e.g. memorialisation, commemoration, education, indoctrination)?
  • What are the aesthetic, political and ethical issues surrounding such performances and publications?
  • Can artistic works created in environments such as concentration camps, or in culturally repressive/religiously hostile societies, ever „stand on their own‟ as aesthetic works, without reference to their context? Should they?
  • What are the aesthetic, political and ethical issues surrounding the creation of new works inspired by the cultural output of sites such as concentration camps?

For information on

  • submitting a proposal for a paper, panel, performance or workshop
  • financial support for students and early career researchers

please see the attached PDF, or go to

Deadline for proposals: Monday 4 November 2013.

Notifications of acceptance or otherwise will be sent at the beginning of December 2013. The full provisional conference programme will be announced early in 2014.

Conference committee

Michael Beckerman (New York University), David Fligg (Leeds College of Music), Helen Finch (University of Leeds), Stephen Muir (University of Leeds), Lisa Peschel (University of York), Joseph Toltz (Sydney Conservatorium, University of Sydney), Bret Werb (Music Curator, US Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington DC)

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