Beyond the Land by Melissa Weininger
Diaspora Israeli Culture in the Twenty-First Century
This thought-provoking exploration of literature and art examines contemporary Israeli works created in and about diaspora that exemplify new ways of envisioning a Jewish national identity. Diaspora has become a popular mechanism to imagine non-sovereign models of Jewish peoplehood, but these models often valorize powerlessness in sometimes troubling ways.In this book, Melissa Weininger theorizes a new category of “diaspora Israeli culture” that is formed around and through notions of homeland and complicate the binary between diaspora and Israel. The works addressed here inhabit and imagine diaspora from the vantage point of the putative homeland, engaging both diasporic and Zionist models simultaneously through language, geography, and imagination. These examples contend with the existence of the state of Israel and its complex implications for diaspora Jewish identities and nationalisms, as well as the implications for Zionism of those diasporic conceptions of Jewish national identity. This dynamic understanding of both an Israeli and a Jewish diaspora works to envision a non-hegemonic Jewish nationalism that can negotiate both political imagination and reality.
Year first published: 2023