This is a hybrid event, meaning that you can register to attend either in-person or online via Zoom.
Since the end of the 19th century, Zionists aimed to forge a new national Jewish identity and the establishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. Central to this was the idea to become visible as ‘Jewish’, often by using symbols that were pinned onto the clothes. Outward appearance and dress played a key role in expressing feelings of belonging between the European countries of origin and the imagined Jewish homeland. Those who immigrated to ‘Eretz Israel’ continued to discuss how to dress ‘appropriately’ in the pre-state Jewish community as an expression of a Hebrew national culture. However, notions on what the appropriate, ideal way of dressing was differed. My talk will shed light on related discussions and resulting dress modes. I will show how such a focus allows us to shed light on hybrid identities between the ‘old’ and the ‘new’ and allows to bring to the fore dynamics of negotiation and conflicts at the microlevel of a migrant community in the process of nation-building.
This event is part of the Parkes Institute 23/24 events and seminar programme.
About the Speaker
Svenja Bethke is Associate Professor of Modern European History and Director of the Stanley Burton Centre for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at the University of Leicester. She is the author of Dance of the Razor’s Edge: Crime and Punishment in the Nazi Ghettos (UTP 2021). For her current book project ‘Between Diaspora and Eretz Israel: Dress in the Time of Nation-Building’, she was awarded a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship by The European Commission, hosted at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem from 2019-2021 and an AHRC Research, Development and Engagement Fellowship (2023-2025).