Hechos de orillas: Nuevas expresiones de la identidad judeo-argentina contemporanea
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The search of the Jewish immigrants for a consolidated identity, social and cultural integration, and recognition within the "official" History of Argentina is narrated through a web of personal stories and family genealogies that disclose the struggles with the collective memories in order to create a new "text": the story of the Jewish Argentineans. After more than a century of Jewish presence in Argentina, what is the importance of these stories for the current identification of these individuals? What is the significance of "being a Jew" -a descendant of immigrants, the other for many generations-, and of "being Argentinean" -a citizen with full political rights and a social actor? This dissertation focuses on novels created in Argentina, Spain, France, United States and Israel by descendants of Jewish immigrants to Argentina and by those born in that country. It examines the current shifting trends in defining the personal and collective identity of Jewish Argentineans in Argentina and its Diaspora. I assess the relevance of geographical spaces, national boundaries, languages and gender for the personal identification with the "imagined community" of the argentinidad and propose different ways to resolve the identity crisis of these individuals whose personal stories had been excluded from the canonical History documented by the state. I argue that the nostalgic return to the migrant past, the revision of symbolic national patrimonies and the redefinition of the collective identity enable new self expressions, and analyze the significance of these discourses through three different perspectives: first, I examine the impact of the distance created by the passing of time. The novels use the "Wandering Jew" as a literary resort in order to dialogue with past events and present an alternative version of it. Second, I evaluate the relevance of geographical distances and linguistic gaps in the formation of the national, cultural and personal identities, upon the nostalgic return to the past, and a sense of dislocation associated with this act. Finally, I examine the importance of biographical elements, such as gender, class and generational differences, for the Jewish and Argentinean identification at the beginning of the XXI century.