Image and Identity: Warsaw Jews as Others and Non-Others

Agnieszka Jagodzinska

University of Wrocław

This paper seeks to explore the relationship between image and identity in the case of Warsaw Jews in the mid-nineteenth century. It will focus on two visual modes present in portraying Warsaw Jews in this period. The first “ethnographical” mode presented traditional, stereotyped, Jewish figures and sought to emphasize the Jewish Otherness; while the second one, presenting the acculturated Jews, attempted to show how they stopped being (visually) Others and it also served as the testimony to their modernisation and integration in the Polish society of the Warsaw metropolis. The paper will discuss the function and meaning of a painted picture and a photograph in the political, social and cultural context of the 19th-century Warsaw.

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