Picturing Jewish Dress: Researching Belonging and Identification Through Historical Visual Sources

Gil Pasternak's picture
Call for Publications
March 12, 2021
Subject Fields: 
Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Cultural History / Studies, Ethnic History / Studies, Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies, Jewish History / Studies


Call for Articles


We are interested in receiving proposals for articles for a special issue of the peer-reviewed journal TEXTILE: Cloth and Culture intended to explore the significance of dress in Jewish history through engagement with and exploration of visual sources.


Scholars interested in Jewish history have emphasised the importance of cultural practices as an expression of belonging and identification across broad time periods. A few of them have also fruitfully explored the significance of dress and visual representations. However, studies with an explicit focus on visual representations of Jewish dress and the visual creation of notions of ‘Jewishness’ through dress are scarce.


Dress, for any community, is situated at the intersection of the private and the public domains. While intimately covering the individual’s body, it is always perceived and interpreted by others in the public sphere. Throughout history, dress has been employed as one key means to express one’s self-understanding, identification, values, and feelings of belonging to social groups, cultural spheres or communities.


With the special issue we specifically wish to explore how visual sources featuring dress can be used to gain insights into questions of belonging and identification, values, traditions and histories across diverse Jewish communities. More specifically, we want to explore the use of photography and digitisation technologies in copying, reproducing and circulating imagery about Jewish life and culture from all historical periods.


This seems a timely area of interest as historical photographs and photographs of historical visual representations become increasingly available to scholars and members of the public through their digitisation and subsequent increased accessibility. In other words, similar to the early days of photography, digital technology and digitisation processes now take responsibility to preserve Jewish heritage and social approaches to the Jewish people.


We invite contributions on any historical time period that explore how:


  • photographic sources have led to the perpetuation of “old” or “new” images of Jewish dress (whether they were originally produced as photographs, paintings, drawings, sketches or any other medium of representation);
  • photographic sources allow us to investigate the changing role and meaning of dress in Jewish history.


Proposals of no more than 350 words (including title and five keywords) clearly describing the subject and aims of the planned article, together with an additional 100-word biog, should be sent by 12 March 2021 to picturingjewishdress@gmail.com


Successful applicants will be expected to submit their complete articles by 31 August 2021 with an anticipated publication date for the special issue in early 2022. The complete articles will need to be in the range of 10,000-12,000 words, including notes and references.


The planned special issue is an outcome of an international workshop series that we organised between Oct-Dec 2020 under the title Picturing Jewish Dress: Researching Belonging and Identification Through Historical Visual Sources. You can find additional details on the website of the workshop series: http://picturingjewishdress.com and you may also watch some of the talks delivered during the series on our YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZUJIwzHBYvgFnT2cjh8sZw/featured


The guest editors of this special issue are Dr Svenja Bethke (University of Leicester) and Dr Gil Pasternak (De Montfort University Leicester).