On our recent field trip, I tried to be especially conscious of the museums we visited as they relate to each other and New York City. From the visitor perspective it feels advantageous to live in a city with many cultural institutions allowing you to see many different stories presented and even the possibility of […]Read more "Two Sides of the Same Coin"
Thinking more about our discussion on Tuesday, and having read this New York Times article and the reactions to it, I want to explore the topic of “ownership” of the Holocaust a little more. I am increasingly frustrated with the point of view that any one group should “own” history. It is critical that we […]Read more "Who Owns History?"
I get emotional every time I read a Holocaust survivor’s memoir, watch the movie Life is Beautiful, or view Holocaust themed works of art. Beyond the inevitable tears, my immediate reaction to stories about the Holocaust includes anger, disillusionment, and the realization that I can never truly understand the horror that millions of people experienced. […]Read more "Up Close and Personal"
Where can you go to enjoy delicious Indian chicken tikka masala, Korean kimchi and Ethiopian kitfo all in the same place? The answer, not surprising to foodies, is most urban areas in the United States. Indians, Koreans, and Ethiopians are part of a new wave of immigrants to America, and, much like earlier Italian, Irish, […]Read more "Bagels or Bust!"
The Huffington Post is a favorite blog of mine, so when in the course of my surfing I ran across Jeffrey Kaye’s February 25th article, “Short Memories: Jews and Immigration,” I thought it was a really timely post given last week’s discussion. Kaye’s thesis is simple but hardly without controversy, “that the Jewish immigration experience […]Read more "A Call for Empathy"
All Sara Smolinsky wanted was to be a person. For our Russian Jew immigrant protagonist of Bread Givers, it would take much of her formative years to figure out how to do that. She had to become independent of the ways of her family, and the Old World, where “only men were people.”  For […]Read more "A Person is 60 Percent Water, the Rest is Blood and Iron (and Education)"
For those outside the class who are interested in joining the conversation online, this week we are reading: Anzia Yezierska’s 1925 novel, Bread Givers, which tells the story of Sara Smolinsky, a Jewish immigrant girl struggling to make her way in the world. Two articles from The Public Historian. — Ruth J. Abram, “Kitchen Conversations: […]Read more "This week 2/17"
“His Natural Inquiry”, Puck, Feb. 5, 1902. Courtesy of New York State Historical Association Caption: HIS NATURAL INQUIRY Papa.-Undt dis leetle pig vent to der market- Little Ikey.-How mooch did he make? Cartoons featured in popular periodicals of the twentieth century often depicted stereotypes of immigrants. This one goes so far as to even impose […]Read more "Stereotypes even target babies!"
It is my belief that the museum has the ability to present the stories of those marginalized within society. Through oral histories and material culture, the museum has an opportunity to give a voice to groups traditionally silenced. Among the most marginalized in American society, is the immigrant. Though Lady Liberty claimed she would cradle […]Read more "I Want to Live While I’m Yet Alive"