An Online Exhibition from the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies 2011-2012 Fellows at the University of Pennsylvania and the Penn Libraries
Introduction: The past decades have seen the emergence of an intense interest in the subject of travel as a complex range of practices and representations. The inherent richness and diversity of the evidence, texts, and materials related to Jewish travel have engaged scholars from a broad range of disciplines and periods (ancient, medieval, and modern history, literature, art and film studies, anthropology, post-colonial and gender studies) in a critical dialogue. Travel writing in particular (in its mimetic, imaginative, and hybrid modes) has served a variety of social and ideological functions throughout the ages, and unquestionably, travels of dislocation and return, pilgrimage, trade and conquest, hold a prominent place in formative Jewish and non-Jewish fictions of identity. What cultural and ideological work is performed by these texts, and how do they produce representations of an-Other and his world, against which and through which they explore and invent a particular sense of self? These are some of the complex themes and challenges that the 2011-12 Katz Fellows addressed, a sampling of which are on display in this year's web exhibit.