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A Biography of Alberto Gerchunoff
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How can a child born in the Russian Pale at the end of the 19th century become one of the most celebrated journalists in Latin America and a writer admired by Jorge Luis Borges? In this biography, Mónica Szurmuk, delves into the different aspects of the life of writer, journalist, and politician Alberto Gerchuinoff. Thoroughly researched in four different continents, this book is as much an account of the life of Alberto Gerchunoff, as an investigation into the Jewish world of the first half of the twentieth century, and the different spaces where Jewish and Latin American cultural and political life intersect.
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Addressing Zionists in 1923, the British artist C. R. Ashbee spoke of “that preposterous Balfour Declaration whose Arabic tail you people perpetually ignore, but the lash of which you will some day feel.” His warnings received no attention at the time, nor has his radical pro-Arab Palestinian political position been researched since. One hundred years later, this art historical study asks what possibilities individual colonial actors had to influence official colonial policy. In the example of Jerusalem under British rule, Moya Tönnies analyses how three members of the British administration, Ashbee, architect Ernest Tatham Richmond, and governor Ronald Storrs, all three identifying with the International Arts and Crafts Movement, used art as a diplomatic sphere for their British colonial anti-Zionist interventions.
The Éminence Grise of the Frankfurt School
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The son of an industrialist who wanted to abolish private property. A Jew who didn’t want anything to do with Judaism. A professor who published little. An economist who squandered his wealth on the stock market. A communist who thought Marxism was anachronistic. And finally: a critical intellectual.
When dealing with the political culture of the Weimar Republic, the development of Critical Theory and German-Jewish emigration to the USA, there is no way around Friedrich Pollock. Max Horkheimer’s companion and the founder of the Institute for Social Research in Frankfurt plays an important part in German-Jewish intellectual history as one of the most prominent representatives of Critical Theory. The present volume presents the first biography of a major but overlooked figure.
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The Second and Third Generation have become increasingly active in remembering and researching their families’ pasts, especially now that most refugees from National Socialism have passed away. How was lived experience mediated to them, and how have their own lives and identities been impacted by persecution and flight?
This volume offers a valuable insight into the personal experience of the Second Generation, as well as a perceptive analysis of film, art, and literature created by or about the subsequent generations. Recurring themes of silences, transferred trauma, postmemory, and “roots journeys" are explored, revealing the distance, connection, and collaboration between the generations.

Contributors are: David Clark, Miriam E. David, Rachel Dickson, Yannick Gnipep-oo Pembouong, Anita H. Grosz, Andrea Hammel, Brean Hammond, Stephanie Homer, Merilyn Moos, Angharad Mountford, Teresa von Sommaruga Howard, Jennifer Taylor, and Sue Vice.
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Burials are sites of encounter between family members, the broader community, and the dead, while the human body itself encodes genetic kinship relations. This paper uses bioarchaeological approaches to document kinship encounters at the medieval site of Tashbulak, in the highlands of modern-day Uzbekistan. At Tashbulak, encounters between this mountain community and the broader region are captured in Muslim burial practices and genetic variation that overlaps with populations across Central Asia. Kinship encounters within the community can also be observed in the care taken with burials, especially in two exceptional graves of a disabled individual and a youth buried with personal effects.

In: Medieval Encounters
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This article looks at the figure of the extreme anti-Shiʿi, the nāṣib, as treated by early Imami Shiʿi discourse during the seventh–ninth centuries CE. Several stories are studied in which the nāṣib is encountered as a problematic internal other within Shiʿi family structures. It is argued that such narratives gesture at the ways in which complex social realities were responded to by social and religious authorities such as the Shiʿi imams. While concerns about issues such as mixed marriages and overbearing parents were not restricted to Shiʿi families, the figure of the nāṣib shows us how certain ways of encountering others within kinship structures were related to the distinctive ways in which Imami Shiʿi social institutions harmonized or were dissonant with the wider society within which they were embedded.

Open Access
In: Medieval Encounters

Abstract

This article explores unions between elite Muslim men and elite non-Muslim women from the conquered populations during the seventh to ninth centuries CE. It considers cases from a range of geographic settings, including the Iberian Peninsula, North Africa, the Fertile Crescent, and Iran. It examines these unions in their immediate historical contexts as well as literary artifacts of much later periods. With respect to the former, it argues Muslim conquerors often used elite non-Muslim women to cement their alliances with indigenous elites and as instruments to humiliate and abase these elites. With respect to the latter, it argues that stories of aristocratic non-Muslim women constitute a neglected but important feature of conquest narratives and they show how elite non-Muslim lineage remained prized among Muslims long after the conquests were over. Finally, as the article argues, the phenomenon demonstrates that many in early Muslim society considered maternal lineage to be very important, even if social standing was technically based mainly on the father.

Open Access
In: Medieval Encounters
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The situation of widows was a serious problem in the multi-religious societies resulting from the first Islamic conquests, both among the elite and in the lower echelons of society, where poverty stalked those women who did not have a protective and supportive family environment. Several possibilities were open to Christian widows at the time of their insertion into the new society: their entry into a monastery, a solution that did not suit the reproductive strategies of either group; or several kinds of marriage: within the same social and religious group, or with Muslim conquerors, bringing them into the host society. The few testimonies from chronical sources will be analyzed in contrast to legal treatises, fatwa compilations, Islamic legal formularies, and canon collections produced by Andalusi Christians to obtain a perspective from both sides. The dynamics of these sources, which show the evolution from the 8th to the 11th century, will help us to understand the continuity of Christian religious practices in Andalusi society and the role of widows in Medieval families.

In: Medieval Encounters
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This article argues that Muḥammad Ibn Saʿd’s (d. 230/845) Kitāb al-Ṭabaqāt al-Kubrā presents early Islamic freedwomen as deeply embedded in kinship networks within their former enslavers’ households and within their wider societies. It first considers how the very organization of Ibn Saʿd’s text reveals the importance of these kinship ties. It then analyzes how freedwomen participated in a “mutuality of being” with their former enslavers, particularly by performing intimate tasks of mothering and caretaking. Next, it reveals how freedwomen acted as social connectors, forging links between different households as wives, mothers, servants, go-betweens, and hadith transmitters. Finally, it reminds readers that these freedwomen had been alienated from their original families before being embedded in a new society through new kinship ties. This analysis allows us to appreciate that the kinship encounters early Islamic freedwomen participated in were real, intimate, and meaningful, but they were also characterized by unfreedom.

In: Medieval Encounters