Creating Jewish identity in American popular culture : contemporary responses to the Holocaust in Jewish American short stories / by Dana Greene.
The manner in which Jewish American authors interpret and portray cultural, historical and social events in the United Stated States society has received little attention in mainstream social scientific literature. This study examines changing patterns of Jewish-American cultural identity that are found in Jewish American short stories written between 1946 and 1995. It uses narrative, qualitative content analysis and a quantitative comparison of theme and symbol use in three time-periods within that fifty year span, time periods that were distinct in terms of the American Jewish community's relation to social changes occurring in Israel and the U.S. It notes an increasing emphasis on the Holocaust, victimization, and anti-Semitism in stories, the use of these themes and symbols to color portrayals of contemporary American social experience, and issues of community and assimilation. As themes relating to Judaic religion and its expression in daily Jewish American rituals decline over time, a new, quasi-sacred cultural identity emerges in the stories based on an unavoidable relation to the Holocaust. As Jewish Americans prosper, abandon the central cities, and relate to various social movements over time, the Holocaust becomes a quasi-sacred “civil religion” symbol that replaces earlier debates about Judaism as religion vs. Jewishness as culture. The dissertation notes, as well, changing attention to the implications of this “Holocaust” identity for relation to other oppressed peoples.
Record last modified: 2018-05-24 14:02:00
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