Skip to Main Content

[CFP Publication] Imagined Israel(s): Projections of the Jewish State in the Arts

Edited volume by Rocco Giansante (PhD) and Luna Goldberg (MA)

The image of Israel on the global stage is the product of the intersection between what it projects externally and what is projected onto it. While the state exports positive images in order to influence public opinion and private actors may publish critical representations of the nation, the non-Israeli uses Israel as a screen onto which an imagined country is projected. This is the case of the Jewish Diaspora whose relation with Israel is charged with elements strictly connected to its internal dynamics, as well as that of those not connected to the Jewish state, whose perceptions are greatly shaped by the international spotlight on the nation and the conflicts within it. 

The arts have long served the purpose of representing a nation and embodying a country’s lasting values, while fostering a sense of collective memory. In today’s globalized world, the arts further function as a means of critical self-reflection on the nation, contemporary culture, and politics. On the screen, on the page, and on canvas, the image(s) of Israel produced by the nation’s artistic establishments stand next to oeuvres about the Jewish state produced by non-Israelis. These works evoke another Israel which speaks about the visions and hopes of the Diaspora. 

The objective of our edited volume is to present these two “modes of representation” — Israel’s self image and the Israel from abroad — and elaborate on how these two discourses, at times diverging, can be integrated and promote a conversation around Israel that can better serve the reality on the ground. Using the creative arts as a frame, this book will examine the projected image of Israel abroad as well as the gaze of the foreigner on the Jewish state, through reflections on exported cultural products, transnational art exhibitions, contemporary cinema, and Jewish American literature. 

We welcome proposals from scholars in all fields that examine representations of Israel in artistic forms including but not limited to cinematic arts, literature, poetry, music, visual and performance art, and dance from 1948 to the present.

This could include, but is not limited to essays about:

  • The portrayal of Israeli society through Modern-day television series such as Fauda, Shtisel, Our Boys

  • Representations of Israel through the lens of Jewish American literature (Jonathan Safran Foer, Philip Roth, Saul Bellow…)

  • Arts exhibitions and artists producing work around Israeli  history, culture, and politics abroad such as Visions of Place, Venice Biennale Israel Pavilion, Miki Kratsman, Tsibi Geva, Sigalit Landau, Nira Pereg, Nir Evron, Dor Guez, Sharif Waked, Yael Bartana, Public Movement, Omer Fast…)

  • Israeli dance on the world stage (Bat Sheva Dance Company, Noa Eshkol Foundation, Israeli Folk Dance…)

  • Israel on the cinematic screen (Claude Lanzmann, Susan Sontag, Chantal Akerman, Otto Preminger…)

  • Perceptions of Israel from Europe (European Jews and Israel)

  • New Territories: Images of Israel in South Korea, China, India.

  • Artists/representation in the Arab/muslim world and/or Israel on the Arab screen (TV series in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, for example)

  • Israel imagined in fashion and design

Potential contributors are asked to submit a 250-word proposal and a short biography (150 words) to: imagined.israel@gmail.com

Deadline for receipt of abstracts: October 30, 2020

Notification will be issued in December 2020.

Contact email: 

imagined.israel@gmail.com