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The University of Southampton
The Parkes Institute

The Archive and Jewish Migration: from Antiquity to the Present Event

11 - 13 April 2011
University of Cape Town

Event details

International Conference organised by the Isaac and Jessie Kaplan Centre for Jewish Studies and Research, University of Cape Town, and the Parkes Institute for the Study of Jewish/non-Jewish Relations.

The Isaac and Jessie Kaplan Centre for Jewish Studies and Research, University of Cape Town, and the Parkes Institute for the Study of Jewish/non-Jewish Relations, University of Southampton, are hosting their sixth joint international conference, The Archive and Jewish Migration: From Antiquity to the Present, 11- 13 April 2011 at the University of Cape Town. This builds on the themes of our previous collaborations which focused on the importance of movement and the Jewish experience, especially in relation to the port, place identity, the family, memory, and ‘the journey'.

The Archive and Jewish Migration uses a deliberately broad definition of the ‘archive' which incorporates both formal and informal records held by institutions, and archives in private hands and in the public domain. The archive in this view may be identified with, for example, ideas, cultural practice, music, art, literature, television and film, private correspondence, documentary collections, papyri, books, photographs and artefacts.

We are interested in the different ways - straightforward and complex - in which archives move and are transformed by the process of migration. Key questions include:

  • How does migration affect the meaning of the archive?
  • What is brought (or remembered) from one place to another, and what is left behind? How is the archive preserved (or  forgotten)?
  • What role do archives play in transmitting memory from place to place and from generation to generation?
  • How and why were established archives moved, and how has their meaning changed through migration?
  • And how has migration enabled the creation and construction of new archives which reflect departure, destination and  the journey?

The aim of the conference is to explore as broad a scope as possible, with no restriction on time periods or geographical locations. Comparative work, exploring the significance of the Jewish archive in relation to other migrant groups, will be welcomed, together with studies that address the Jewish experience in its own right.

Finally, the conference will also devote energy to addressing various forms of public memory - both past and present - and to reflecting on how the archive has been - and is - represented in public space. Key areas for discussion include formal memory work (e.g. museums and memorials) and informal memorialisation within the built heritage in the public domain. The conference will intersect with the South African Jewish Museum and broader projects engaged with memory work within Cape Town.
Please send proposals, maximum of 250 words, and a brief cv by 31 October 2010  to: Dr James Jordan

Whilst we are not able to offer help with travel expenses, the Kaplan Centre will provide four nights accommodation for the conference.

Conference organisers:

Professor Milton Shain (University of Cape Town)
Dr James Jordan
Professor Tony Kushner
Professor Sarah Pearce

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