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Anxious Histories: Narrating the Holocaust in Jewish Communities at the Beginning of the Twenty-First Century

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Anxious Histories

Narrating the Holocaust in Jewish Communities at the Beginning of the Twenty-First Century

Jordana Silverstein

254 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78238-652-0 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (April 2015)

ISBN  978-1-78533-523-5 $34.95/£27.95 / Pb / Published (July 2017)

eISBN 978-1-78238-653-7 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit Buy the eBook from these vendorsRequest a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


Anxious Histories invites scholars and educators to consider Holocaust education from a series of thought-provoking dimensions. It ought to spur further research to enrich the knowledge base at both the theoretical and practical levels. The book adds to our understanding of the contents and discontents of Holocaust education in Jewish high schools in diaspora contexts at the beginning of the 21st century. Its treatment of a crucial and timely topic in our field renders it a valuable work. For its innovative claims about the roles of both anxiety and assimilation in how Jewish educators teach the Holocaust, it merits our careful attention.” · Journal of Jewish Education

“What makes the book so important is that in investigating why the third generation hands on the knowledge of the Holocaust in the way that it does, and why it hands on the knowledge it does, Silverstein offers us an examination of what it is to be Jewish today, to live one’s everyday life in the lengthening shadow of the Holocaust and the trauma handed on through the generations… I strongly recommend this book.” · Australian Historical Studies

“[This book] addresses an extremely difficult and complex theme, one which (to my knowledge) has not been focused on in a sustained way before: the pedagogy of the Holocaust in Diaspora Jewish secondary schools, especially vis-à-vis Zionism. It contains fascinating material and much of the analysis is provocative and worthwhile.” · Jonathan Boyarin, Cornell University

“What is so interesting and admirable is the way the author probes and explores various conceptual and methodological questions, problematizing rather than imposing absolute judgments, and always writing with sympathy and empathy and a subtle awareness of possible contradictions... From the first sentence of the Introduction the reader realizes that the book is beautifully written, often idiomatic, and conversational and engagingly personal.” · John Docker, The University of Sydney


Over the last seventy years, memories and narratives of the Holocaust have played a significant role in constructing Jewish communities. The author explores one field where these narratives are disseminated: Holocaust pedagogy in Jewish schools in Melbourne and New York. Bringing together a diverse range of critical approaches, including memory studies, gender studies, diaspora theory, and settler colonial studies, Anxious Histories complicates the stories being told about the Holocaust in these Jewish schools and their broader communities. It demonstrates that an anxious thread runs throughout these historical narratives, as the pedagogy negotiates feelings of simultaneous belonging and not-belonging in the West and in Zionism. In locating that anxiety, the possibilities and the limitations of narrating histories of the Holocaust are opened up once again for analysis, critique, discussion, and development.

Jordana Silverstein is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies at the University of Melbourne, with the ARC Laureate Fellowship Project ‘Child Refugees and Australian Internationalism: 1920 to the Present’. She is co-editor of In the Shadows of Memory: The Holocaust and the Third Generation (Vallentine Mitchell, 2016) and has published widely on Holocaust memory and histories of Jewish identity.

Subject: Genocide HistoryJewish Studies


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