Balancing History and Memory: a Dialectic of Jewish Imagination

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University of Guelph

This thesis examines the way that history and memory interact with post-Holocaust cultural texts, interrogating the way in which anti-Semitism affects Jewish identity construction. An analysis of If I Am Not for Myself: Journey of an Anti-Zionist Jew interrogates the merits of historically-centred Jewish identity and Great House challenges memory-driven Jewish identity. Building off of the premise that Jewish identity becomes a negative identity when it is constructed by the non-Jewish Other, the thesis argues that Hunters exemplifies elements of Theodor Adorno’s Negative Dialectics in its post-modern de-historicization of past and present forms of anti-Semitism within its fictional framework. The show reconciles the divide between history and memory in Jewish identity formation, illustrating how the way history and memory is represented in fiction matters most.

Jewish identity , Negative dialectics, Historiography, Traumatic Memory