Geographies, Spaces of Experience and Objects of Migration in Jewish Visual and Material Culture

International workshop organized by Anna Sophia Messner, Chair for Transcultural Studies/Institute for Art History, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf
A cooperation of the Chair for Transcultural Studies/Institute for Art History, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, Eva-Maria Troelenberg and the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut, Hannah Baader

The workshop will analyze and discuss multifaceted entanglements and encounters of visual and material culture in Jewish geographies and spaces of experience in the 19th and 20th Century. It will focus on geographical areas which have received less attention on the map of scholarship of Jewish history yet, such as sub-Saharan Africa, Oceania and the Pacific region, the Carribean and Suriname.

A series of case studies presented at the workshop will investigate cultural, ritual and everyday objects, artistic, aesthetic and cultural expressions, practices, spatial and territorial imaginations and utopias, as well as visual and material testimonies of migration and exile experiences of European – especially German – Jews in these geographies. In a critical knowledge oriented   approach, they are analyzed with regard to the visual and material reception and representation of these encounters. Thereby, the objects are interrogated as epistemologically charged, intercultural negotiation spaces and contact zones, studied in order to understand and analyze processes and questions about Jewish socio-cultural, political and spatial identities and their visual and material representations in the 19th and 20th century – a period, that is marked by Jewish emancipation and assimilation processes in Europe, National Socialism, the Shoah and its consequences such as exile, as well as expansionist or colonialist ambitions of Empires, collective and individual loss, and moments of resistance.



September 15, 2023

09.30 Hannah Baader Welcome 
Anna Sophia Messner and Eva-Maria Troelenberg Introduction

09.45 Julia Schneidawind, Ludwig Maximilians University Munich
German-Jewish material cultural heritage in Oceania and the South Seas

10.30 Laura Almagor, Utrecht University
“Sick of the Civilized World”: Jewish Territorialism and postcolonial reinvention in Suriname, 1946-1948

11.15 Coffee break

11.45 Jessica Williams Stark, Princeton University
Anne Fischer: South African Photographies of Exile and Resistance

12.30 Lunch break

13.30 Anna Sophia Messner, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf
German-Jewish Encounters with sub-Saharan Africa. A Visual Cultural History

14.15 Anna-Carolin Augustin, German Historical Institute Washington
‘Rescued Remnants’ on a ‘Dreamy Island’ – The Jewish Curaçao Experience

 15.00 Final discussion

15.30 Visit to the Synagogue (speakers only)

15 September 2023, 9:30am

This will be a hybrid event.

Palazzo Grifoni Budini Gattai
Via dei Servi 51
50122 Firenze, Italia

To participate online please register in advance via Zoom:  

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. 


This event will be documented photographically and/or recorded on video. Please let us know if you do not agree with the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz using images in which you might be recognizable for event documentation and public relation purposes (e.g. social media).


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