Rethinking Identities, Interpreting the Past in Recent Judeo-Argentinean Fiction

Amelia Ran

This book proposes to rethink identities within contemporary Judeo-Argentinean fiction by dealing with the transforming notions of Jewishness and national identity in Argentina. It focuses on the dialogue (and confrontation) between the narrative text and the imaginary national space it questions. By reviewing the new material conditions within Argentina and its diasporic communities, this book imposes a new reflection on what Judeo-Argentinean fiction is all about. It reflects on the shifting notion of identity, abandoning traditional definitions, in order to analyze how feelings of alienation and nostalgia echo an era of transculturation and floating borders. The novels that this book studies return to the past from a certain distance created by time and space. This distance leads the reader to question the relevance of geographical, cultural, and linguistic differences within identity formation.


Since its beginning, the research of Jewish Latin America has focused on the quest of Jewish immigrants for a consolidated identity, social and cultural integration in their receiving societies, and recognition within the “official” and canonical national history. Traditional scholarship has paid special attention to the construction of collective memory and the dilemma of “double identity.” Nonetheless, the transforming notion of otherness in the last few decades, associated traditionally with the Jewish character, requires a new approach when discussing contemporary affiliations of Jews in Argentina and their narrative representations. New waves of emigration from Argentina at the beginning of the new millennium, economic and social disintegration, general disillusion with the state apparatus, and the gaps left in the collective memory following the years of the military dictatorship have redefined personal and collective identities and demand a careful reexamination of the concept of argentinidad and its cultural significances.


Made of Shores proposes to explore these issues by discussing novels previously excluded from the corpus of Judeo-Argentinean fiction and by placing Jewish Argentinean fiction within the context of Latin American literature and Judaic studies. It offers the reader the chance to participate actively in the scholarly debates on issues of memory and identity, and the different representations of Jewishness in Latin America today.

0781611460148 (R&L)
0781611460155 (R&L)
Lehigh University Press - Made of Shores