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Amos Bitzan

Amos Bitzan

Amos Bitzan

Cohort: 
2013

While historians have largely neglected studying representations of violence as artifacts of inherent interest separate from the events they describe, Amos Bitzan's dissertation in History addresses the discursive mediation of violence itself. Titled Jewish Representations of Violence in the First World War and its Aftermath, Mr. Bitzan's work focuses on the years between 1914 and 1920, a period when hundreds of thousands of eastern European Jews were expelled from their homes, robbed, attacked and killed by soldiers, irregular fighters, and even fellow civilians. Drawing upon letters, newspaper articles, rabbinic decisions on Jewish law, poems, administrative reports by military authorities, photographs, and pamphlets, Mr. Bitzan asserts that how we write about and publicize acts of violence not only shapes our short- and long-term responses to them; it also informs our identities as individuals, members of particular communities, and human beings coexisting with others. By studying what eastern European Jews wrote, fantasized, read, and did as they faced the chaos of early-twentieth-century warfare, Mr. Bitzan contextualizes figurations of violence generated in a particular historical moment, and uses them to interrogate the cultural practice of representing violent acts.