CfP: Jewish Migrations and their Effect on Modern Urban Cultures

Call for artistic contributions, deadline 15 October 2022


At the edge of modernity, the metropolis was characterized by the mobility of people. Telegram wires, telephones, railways, bicycles, trams, and automobiles moved people and/or their ideas ever faster in and in-between cities around the globe. Jewish protagonists and groups were also caught up in these migration patterns and flows across continents in the 19th and 20th centuries. As part of European migration towards the Promised Land of the USA, or as a result of transnational networks, urbanization, or colonizing projects, Jews sought economic opportunities, freedom from antisemitism, proximity to family members, or political and cultural liberty and exploration in new cities. Arriving in different urban amalgamations, they shaped local neighbourhoods and larger urban structures, reformulating both the urban social framework and Jewish identities. Interactional spaces between Jewish migrants and urban populations evolved, expressing multifarious cultural articulations of the diverse and complex experiences of the ever-expanding and ever-transforming city.

With this special issue of the Journal of Mobile Culture Studies (mcsj), we are interested in how the irregularity, ambiguity, and instability experienced by both Jewish migrants and already existing urban populations, were negotiated in the last centuries: Synagogues, cemeteries, department stores, coffee houses, operas and theatres, industries, and modern architectural developments, all features of the modern metropolis, have been linked to and associated with Jewish presence and agency. But how were the complex links between arriving Jewish migrants and transmigrants and local, urban settings negotiated? What happened to concrete constructions – tenements, streets, public spaces – and social, multicultural milieus when Jews and their ideas, material culture, languages, and rituals arrived or passed through? How did Jewish migration experiences influence local settings, and what role did migration play in the overall Jewish relationship with metropolises and their populations?

When arriving in or passing through cities, their – to others – unfamiliar languages, clothes, rituals, and objects mingled with the urban setup of diverse ethnic and religious populations. What emotions are associated with moving through cities? In environments described as multifarious and diverse, what role did newly arrived (Jewish) migrants play in the processes of shaping and understanding the city?

Mcsj is a journal that publishes “atmospheric and thought-provoking textual impulses, as well as drawings, photographs, video and audio clips” beside research articles. Mcsj offers an interesting open-access and sustainably available platform for a scientific-artistic dialogue to engage readers to dare new views on mobility. We thus aim to gather and intermingle the newest research with innovative and stimulating artistic engagement: artistic interventions, visual presentations, literature, soundscapes, maps, etc. and invite the submission of projects.

We invite proposals of artistic contributions that engage with the spatial aspects of Jewish migration to urban environments in the 19th and 20th centuries. The term artistic contribution is broadly defined and can, as explained above, include auditory, visual, and/or textual engagements with the relationship between cities and migration – from the perspective of Jewish history. As an equally important research tool, we encourage and promote artistic endeavours that go beyond academia to probe, question, and delve into the modern Jewish experience of moving and experiencing and affecting new urban environments.

Proposals, including an abstract and a short biography (both max 100 words), are invited to be submitted via email to Maja Hultman ( and Susanne Korbel ( by October 15th, 2022. Artists of selected proposals will be notified by the end of October, and final projects should be ready for submission by May 31th, 2023.