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Grant number like: FT-60339-12

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Maya Barzilai
Regents of the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1382)

Summer Stipends
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2012 – 6/30/2012

The Golem and the Genesis of Modern Media: Transatlantic Negotiations

I intend to spend two months in New York, researching the American reception in the 1920s of European adaptations of the golem legend as well as the art works of Jewish-American immigrants about this legend. The legend concerns, in its modern European versions, a Rabbi's creation of a clay humanoid that performs both protective and menial tasks for the Jewish community. In the larger book project, The Golem and the Genesis of Modern Media, I analyze the explosion of visual and verbal renditions of the legend in twentieth century Europe and the United States and the coincidence of this popularity with periods of warfare and national conflict. The central argument is that in these periods the golem legend became a myth of origins for the nascent mediums of film and comics. Focusing on cross-linguistic and cross-cultural examples, the book makes a case for the importance of this legend and its Jewish themes in the making of wartime and post-war (Western) popular culture.