CFP: Summer Workshop on The Ghetto of Venice: The Future of Memory in the Digital Age

Summer Workshop for Early Career Scholars on Liminal Spaces and Jewish Identity
Tuesday, June 28 – Sunday, July 5, 2016 | Venice, Italy


The ghetto—the stereotype and the iconic image of the Jews who lived there—was and still is today one of the most misunderstood of modern Jewish spaces as well as one of the most powerful symbolic sites. This workshop coincides with the 500th anniversary of the Ghetto of Venice and brings together early career scholars to examine and analyze the ghetto’s long history as a cultural text and visual icon. We will explore the political, economic and social functions that make a ghetto a cultural screen for the articulation and projection of Jewish identity.

The workshop will address the complexity of the Ghetto of Venice as a concrete space and as a global metaphor—tracing the refraction of the Ghetto of Venice across space and time. We hope to bring together representations of the ghetto in art, literature, and photography while embracing the possibilities of digital methodologies. By conceiving of the ghetto as a “memory space that travels” rather than as a static mussel site we will open up the constellation of representations in which the Ghetto of Venice is situated in the 21st century and test Walter Benjamin’s algorithm—”The past can be seized only as an image which flashes up at the instant when it can be recognized and is never seen again.”

Applicants should address the conference themes: gender, photography, the future of memory, and digital or spatial storytelling. A broad range of questions arise from this new approach to the Ghetto of Venice:

  1. In our digital era is it now possible to place the iconic Ghetto of Venice into a new historical constellation that disrupts the effects of “frozen” in museum time?
  2. What is gained from this new comparative approach given the diversity of modern Jewish experience?
  3. How has the Ghetto of Venice become a global metaphor?
  4. How can the Ghetto of Venice be conceived as a dynamic space rather than a static archive?
  5. What is the relationship of the sequestered space of the ghetto and the larger urban fabric which it belongs?
  6. How has and how might imagery of the ghetto change alongside developments in technology (photography, digital archives, print literature, and 3D modeling)?

Early career scholars are invited to submit a one-page proposal for a 20 minute talk that shows promise that it could be expanded for inclusion in an essay collection. Participants should have familiarity with the historical archive, a reading list of key items will be circulated before the workshop. Partial support may be available.

Application materials and further information available at:

Join the Discussion
Twitter: #TheVeniceGhetto
Facebook: The Venice Ghetto Working Group

Support provided by the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation.

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