Faculty Seminars 2013-2014

Spring 2014 Seminars

Memory and Method in Intimate Ethnography: My Father’s Wars
Alisse Waterston, Professor of Anthropology, John Jay College, City University of New York
Wednesday, April 2, 2014 at Noon
Bildner Center, 12 College Avenue
Lunch will be served.

My Father's WarsMy Father’s Wars: Migration, Memory and the Violence of a Century (Routledge Innovative Ethnographies Series) is a personal story that tells a larger, transnational, trans-ethnic, multidimensional and diasporic history. I look squarely at my father’s lived experience of displacement and dispossession, a particular life shaped by violence in its various forms—political, structural, institutional, symbolic, acute and chronic (normalized/everyday). Born in northeastern Poland on the eve of World War I, my father traveled through the multiple violences of the 20th century. In pursuing this project over many years, I have been guided by the assumption that intimate ethnography as a method and as a written document has the potential to bridge story and scholarship, bringing anthropology into the public conversation on critical social issues, past and present. Intimate ethnography has potential to illuminate in a powerful way the relationships between violence, embodied subjectivity and self-historical identity, sensate experience, social memory, power, and history. In this paper, I take stock of this fundamental assumption of my project. I will assess my version of intimate ethnography (how I am doing it; by what means), consider its potential relevance to particular audiences and for specific contemporary issues, and reflect on its value as story, and as historical and theoretical scholarship.
Alisse Waterston is Professor of Anthropology, John Jay College, City University of New York. She is the editor of Open Anthropology, the online public journal of the American Anthropological Association and a Soros International Scholar affiliated with Tbilisi State University in Gender Studies. Professor Waterston is President-elect of the American Anthropological Association.

Seminar April 8, 2014 Sarajevo haggadahAleksandra Buncic
Depicting God's Presence in the Sarajevo Haggadah
Aleksandra Buncic, Visiting Fulbright Scholar
Tuesday, April 8, 2014, 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Bildner Center, 12 College Avenue

Aleksandra is spending the current academic year at Rutgers as a visiting Fulbright scholar under the mentorship of our colleague Paola Tartakoff.

Fulbright Scholar Aleksandra Buncic is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Art History at the University of Zagreb, where she is researching the iconography of a fourteenth-century illuminated Hebrew manuscript from Spain, known as the Sarajevo Haggadah. In 2007, she graduated summa cum laude from the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Sarajevo, where she studied Art History and Pedagogy. Ms. Buncic has been a visiting fellow in Jewish Studies and Hebrew Bible at Duke University as well as a Rothberg Family Scholar at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Since 2007, she has been employed at the Commission to Preserve National Monuments in Bosnia and Herzegovina, specializing in the history of art and involved in the expert recording, processing and evaluation of properties to be designated as national monuments.

Fall 2013 Seminars

Rites of Return: Yael Bartana’s Polish Trilogy: And Europe Will be Stunned
Carol  Zemel, Bildner Visiting Scholar
Professor of Art History and Visual Culture, York University, Toronto
Wednesday, November 13, 2013 at noon
Bildner Center, 12 College Avenue
Sponsored by the Bildner Center



Israeli video artist Yael Bartana’s, And Europe will be stunned (2008-11) calls attention to the layered identities and inter-dependencies of citizens in multi-cultural national environments—Poles and Jews, Israelis and Palestinians.  As actions of of Bartana’s fictive Jewish Renaissance Movement in Poland, the trilogy opens with Mary Koszmary  (Nightmare),  a proclaimed call for Jews to return to Poland; part two ,Wall and Tower pictures Polish and Israeli youth building  a utopian kibbutz in Muranow, once the site of the Warsaw Ghetto. The final episode, Zamach (Assassination), takes viewers to the funeral of the Movement’s leader and predicts that by Joining and implementing the cause “Europe will be stunned”

The three-part sequence builds on an intertwined metaphor of Jewish and Arab expulsions and imagined return. Each situation is provocative and, in the case of Poland, even shocking, as Jews are called to move on from Holocaust hatreds and grief.  As aesthetic intervention, Bartana’s Trilogy replaces what have become facile certainties and idealistic fantasies with an unsettling and provocative ambivalence.  

Full screening: 60 minutes