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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Black Ashkenaz And the Almost Promised Land: Yiddish Literature and the Harlem Renaissance
by McCallum-Bonar, Colleen, Ph.D., The Ohio State University, 2008, 240; 10631170
Abstract (Summary)

Black Ashkenaz and the Almost Promised Land: Yiddish Literature and the Harlem Renaissance explores the relationship between African Americans and Eastern European immigrant Jews (Yiddish-speaking / Ashkenazic Jews) by examining the depictions of each in their respective literatures. The thrust of this project addresses the representations of African Americans in Yiddish literature. An investigation of the depictions of Jews by Harlem Renaissance writers can contribute to the understanding of an African American/Yiddish interface in which attitudes towards each other are played and written out.

This linkage of African American and Jewish history, traditions and reflections regarding identity, culture, and language appears at a significant point in the grand narrative of ethnicity and race ideology in the United States. For Yiddish writers, their works regarding African Americans revealed their projection of what it meant to be Black, just as those of Harlem Renaissance writers projected their concept of what it meant to be Jewish, all in a milieu which saw the redefinition of what it meant to be black, to be white, and to be American.

Yiddish writers addressed concepts of Blackness and Jewishness with an understanding of what could be gained or lost; the push to become American, the opportunity for social, political and economic mobility and racial alterity was countered by the pull of conflict with respect to assimilation, American conceptualization of exclusion based upon race, and a Jewish consciousness which rejected both.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Miller, David Neal
Commitee: Fischer, Bernd, Jacobs, Neil
School: The Ohio State University
Department: Germanic Languages and Literatures
School Location: United States -- Ohio
Source: DAI-A 78/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Comparative literature, African American Studies, Black history, Literature, American literature, Ethnic studies, Judaic studies
Keywords: Black Ashkenaz, Blacks and Jews, Harlem Renaissance, Poetry, Yiddish, Yiddish literature
Publication Number: 10631170
ISBN: 978-0-355-01452-5
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