[EDLING:1053] CFP: The Perennial Other: Yiddish Literature in Comparative Contexts

Francis M Hult fmhult at DOLPHIN.UPENN.EDU
Sat Oct 29 20:48:55 UTC 2005

> Seminar Title: The Perennial Other: Yiddish Literature in Comparative
> Contexts
> This seminar--which will convene at the 2006 ACLA conference at Princeton
> University--proposes to examine in historical and theoretical terms the
> multilingual contexts in which Yiddish literature has appeared. The
> vernacular language of Ashkenazic Jews, Yiddish has a thousand-year history
> of functioning at territorial, linguistic, and cultural crossroads. A fusion
> language consisting of Romance, German, Slavic, and Semitic components,
> Yiddish throughout the modern era has excited considerable anxiety among its
> linguistic neighbors: it has been vilified as a thieves' language; a
> degraded form of German; a linguistic symbol of irrationality and disorder;
> a mark of provincialism, parochialism, or Ashkenazic chauvinism; a language
> of the anti-Zionist left as well as the anti-modern right.
> In spite of these pejorative and stereotypical labels--which have been
> applied to Yiddish as much by Jews themselves as by antagonistic
> non-Jews--the Yiddish language has functioned as Ashkenazic Jewry's primary
> language of mediation and cultural negotiation for nearly a millennium, and
> Yiddish culture for the past 150 years has produced a roving, experimental,
> subversive literature fully engaged with the leading modernist trends active
> in Europe, the United States, the Soviet Union, and Israel. This seminar
> will therefore attempt to understand Yiddish literature as an inherently
> multi-lingual, liminal cultural production that can only be understood fully
> with reference to its dialogical relationship with contemporaneous and
> co-territorial literary cultures. As such, it intends to demonstrate the
> relevance of Yiddish, as well as other local, "minor" languages, to a
> theoretical understanding of the politics of literary form, the
> self-perception of the Other, and the problematic assumptions of the Human
> in the age of post-Enlightenment modernity.
> This seminar will seriously consider for inclusion any topic involving
> Yiddish in a comparative context. Suggested topics for consideration include
> the following:
> Yiddish literature between non-Jewish sources and Jewish audiences
> Yiddish literature during the Renaissance
> Yiddish as a bridge between tradition and modernity
> Yiddish literature and the problems of translation
> Enlightenment philosophy and Yiddish literature
> Yiddish literature as immigrant literature
> The relationship of American Yiddish poetry to American literary aesthetics
> Yiddish writers in Weimar Germany
> Yiddish literature as Soviet literature
> The status of Yiddish in Israel
> Yiddish writers in the post-colonial world
> Yiddish literature and post-colonial theory
> Yiddish literature and gender theory
> Yiddish discourse in non-Jewish literary languages
> Yiddish in comparison with other "minor" vernaculars.
> Please submit a paper proposal to this seminar directly on the ACLA website,
> <http://webscript.princeton.edu/~acla06/site/>, following the links and
> instructions provided there, by November 30, 2005.
> Please direct any inquiries regarding this seminar to Marc Caplan at
> <aqc1774 at nyu.edu>

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