Mapping Ararat at Association for Jewish Studies 2013 Conference

Session Participants: Moderator: Jeffrey Shandler, ( Rutgers University) Discussants: Jennifer Glaser (University of Cincinnati), Shelley Hornstein ( York University), Todd Presner ( University of California, Los Angeles), Gavriel Rosenfeld ( Fairfield University), Melissa Shiff ( University of Toronto), Louis Kaplan ( University of Toronto).

Boston Mass, Sheraton Hotel, Mon Dec 16 2013, 4:30 to 6:30pm, Link to session page at AJS website for more info.

The session begins with an artistic presentation by Melissa Shiff (project director, UToronto) and Louis Kaplan (chief researcher, UToronto) that provides an overview of the scope and aims of this project and a screening of a video that showcases an augmented reality walking tour of this imaginary Jewish homeland.

Jennifer Glaser (English, Cincinnati) will analyze the ways in which the performative nature of MAPPING ARARAT complicates and expands our understanding of the counter-factual impulse in contemporary Jewish American literature and the role it plays in Jewish identity formation. She also will comment on the increasing importance of digital spaces in the imagination of diasporic communities. 

Shelley Hornstein (Architectural History, YorkU) will consider “what if” questions posed by MAPPING ARARAT that challenge our consideration of diaspora, homeland, and Jewish tangible heritage and how it relates to the evolving conversation between architectural monuments as physical and symbolic objects and their arbitrary digital intervention in geographic space.

Todd Presner (Digital Humanities; Jewish Studies, UCLA) will analyze the project drawing from his interest in geospatial humanities (mapping, visualization, modeling) while providing broader perspectives from scholarly work in the Digital Humanities writ large.

Gavriel Rosenfeld (History; Judaic Studies, Fairfield) who is an expert in the historiography and function of counterfactual Jewish histories will respond to the project in relationship to these issues and reflect on “presentist” concerns driving this alternate history and its fantasy scenario.

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