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Grant number: FT-229663-15

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FT-229663-15

Shaul Kelner
Vanderbilt University (Nashville, TN 37240-0001)

Jewish Americans and the Movement to Free Soviet Jews: Cold War Culture, Identity Politics and Social Movement Mobilization

Summer research and writing on Cultural History, Jewish Studies and Sociology.

At the peak of détente, a global human rights campaign for Soviet Jews engaged Jewish Americans in what was at once a Cold War-era confrontation and a 1970s-era ethnic pride movement. Activists transformed ancient Passover rituals into moments of anti-Soviet protest and co-opted modern tourism to send Jewish Americans behind the Iron Curtain to contact Soviet Jewish dissidents. My book project on the cultural strategies employed by the Soviet Jewry movement advances 1) the sociology of social movements, by analyzing the contradictions that inhere in efforts to treat culture as a means to political ends; 2) the cultural history of the Cold War, by expanding our understanding of the diversity of American Cold War cultures; and 3) the movement's historiography, by breaking with the focus on policy efforts to highlight its cultural work. The stipend would support research at the American Jewish Historical Society, with materials made newly accessible by an NEH Preservation & Access grant.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
Cultural History; Jewish Studies; Sociology

Program:
Summer Stipends

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2015 – 8/31/2015