Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Using the visual to "see" absence: The case of Thessaloniki
by Stein, Nancy Carol, Ph.D., Florida Atlantic University, 2013, 210; 3571437
Abstract (Summary)

Thessaloniki, a city with an Ottoman, Byzantine, and Sephardic past, is located in the Balkan area of Macedonia, in northern Greece. Its history is the story of people who have come from someplace else. For several hundred years, the majority population of the city was comprised of Spanish speaking Sephardic Jews who contributed to all aspects of the development of the city. This significant presence is no longer visible unless one specifically knows where to look for its traces. It is not a history that has been silenced or erased, but rather obliterated. In this dissertation, I present the documented presence and transformations of the Jewish population in Thessaloniki from the earliest contributions to present day. This work on absence uses visual anthropology to explore the present day urban environment through an ethnographic account of the city of Thessaloniki. The visual is used to investigate how cities present their past and how people learn to see the world, what reflects their world vision, and the ways their vision is socially and culturally influenced. Anthropology is concerned with material artifacts that act as representatives of the past and as visual symbols. This is a work about what happens when intentionally omitted histories remain absent from the public sphere. What remains physically present but unrepresented proves equally important in creating and reinforcing memory. Our relationship to our environment also may be compromised by what is absent. This project examines absence through the circumstances by which the past is represented in the present, and looks at how the past is experienced in ways that may be used to invoke, challenge, or re-direct the way a community is remembered.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Harris, Michael
Commitee: Berger, Alan, Fejes, Fred
School: Florida Atlantic University
Department: Comparative Studies
School Location: United States -- Florida
Source: DAI-A 74/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Cultural anthropology, European history, Ancient history, Judaic studies
Keywords: Greece, Macedonia, Sephardic Jews, Thessaloniki, Visual anthropology
Publication Number: 3571437
ISBN: 978-1-303-22809-4
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