On 5 and 6 May 2015, a workshop which formed part of the DFG research project Innovation through Tradition? brought together scholars from a range of fields (history, educational history, culture research, cultural studies, Jewish studies) to engage in discussion on the concept of ‘cultural translation’ as applied to the analysis of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Jewish educational media. The project regards these media as sources enabling researchers to obtain greater understanding of the complex history of cultural transformation and cultural transmission and of these processes themselves.
The concept of ‘cultural translation’ opens up an approach to the analysis of educational media which proceeds from the fundamental principle that they do not transmit meaning or interpretations in a linear fashion or merely receive and reproduce them, but rather represent products of complex processes of negotiation and mediation. This perspective highlights the ways in which these sources reflect and translate corpora of knowledge, social norms and values, and patterns of perception and interpretation.
The presentations held during the workshop were on subjects ranging from maskilic (Jewish proponents of the Enlightenment) Trojan-horse strategies to processes of cultural translation from the Schildbürgerbuch
to Yiddish Chelm
tales, and from textbooks for teaching Hebrew, principles of textbooks for religious education, Jewish sermons and liturgical music in nineteenth-century Germany to Yiddish textbooks in Poland. The diverse disciplinary and transdisciplinary backgrounds of the participants gave rise to unexpected questions and inspiring discussions around the concept of ‘cultural translation’.
Workshop booklet with program and further information on speakers and presentations:
The Israeli and German researchers on the DFG research project Innovation through Tradition? met in Braunschweig on 4 May 2015 to discuss a number of matters relating to the research project. As well as reviewing the results obtained in the initial funding period (2014–2015), they looked ahead at the further development of the project during its second funding period, which is planned to last an additional three years. Other issues discussed included conceptual matters and approaches, all sub-projects, challenges arising or anticipated in this bi-national project which brings together researchers from various disciplinary backgrounds.
The workshop Jewish Educational Media and Cultural Translations, organized by the Georg Eckert Institute and to be held on May 5-6, 2015, in Braunschweig, aims to bring together scholars from the fields of history and educational history, Jewish studies and cultural studies to inspire and stimulate discussion on the concept of cultural translation. The workshop will present initial findings of the German-Israeli research project Innovation through tradition? Approaching cultural transformations during the Sattelzeit via Jewish educational media and give insights into related projects, and will hopefully serve as a forum for a lively discussion on the value of Jewish educational media as sources for research in the history of cultural transformation. We hope to increase our understanding of acts of cultural translation between tradition and innovation, and of the dissolution and (re)formation of cultural boundaries, and thus generate new knowledge which may hold significance far beyond the area on which the project is focusing, that of research on Central European Jewish history in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries drawing on the history of Jewish education and educational media as key sources.