Mapping Liminal Jewish Spaces with Katie Trostel and Erica Smeltzer
Wednesday, February 10 (12 – 1:30 PM) Humanities 2, room 259
Literature graduate students, Katie Trostel and Erica Smeltzer will present their digital works-in-progress as part of their ongoing work related to the Venice Ghetto and Liminal Spaces and the Jewish Imagination.
Sponsored by the Puknet Foundation.
Katie Trostel, “Shifting Zones of Memory”: Digitally Mapping Marjorie Agosín’s Cartographies: Meditations on Travel (2004)
This digital mapping project centered on Marjorie Agosín’s Cartographies: Meditations on Travel (2004) stems from larger questions posed by the Venice Ghetto Working Group at UCSC; the group has undertaken the project of thinking through the meaning of the ghetto in the context of its 500th anniversary. Through digital mapping, I trace the complexity of ways in which Jewish spaces, including that of the ghetto, are revisited, re-inscribed, entangled, and recycled in Agosín’s poems, as she simultaneously works through her experience of exile in the period of the Chilean post-dictatorship. The space of the ghetto, as well as globalized Jewish spaces as a broader category, are ways of thinking through the more expansive themes of exile, displacement, national belonging, and exclusion. Through her prose-poems, Agosín complicates the idea of a static geography, weaving personal place-based memories into a complex web of Jewish sites of global significance. Reflecting upon her travels across four continents, she explores both the category of exile and a certain longing for home. I use this work to think about the re-inscription of meanings of place, and how sites of memory can come to embody overlapping stories that span both space and time. I question: How do these sites of memory travel? How can a digital representation of literary space help to visualize and make deeper the layers of history and tangled webs of place-based belonging encoded in the pages of Agosín’s text?
Erica Smeltzer, “Opening Gates and Ghettos: Digitally Mapping the Jewish Spaces of Prague”
This project uses a digital mapping platform to represent the many spatial characteristics attributed to Jewish experience: exile, sequestration, and diaspora. Beginning with the Jewish ghetto in Prague, the “Story Map” will begin with Egon Erwin Kisch’s Tales from Seven Ghettos, following the reportage as it describes place, space, and history in the Jewish quarter. This project evolved from the larger theoretical and comparative questions posed by the Venice Ghetto Working Group at UCSC. The group considers the Venice Ghetto “a memory space that travels.” In this spirit the digital map attempts to represent the intersections between stories of the ghetto, their reiterations, and the dispersal of their authors. In this way the mapping project begins with Egon Erwin Kisch, but it does not end with him. The map slowly expands as his text touches on different nodes (legends, landmarks, and histories) and begins to oppose a purely insular vision of the ghetto through a specialized and expanding network of intertext.