Connecting Histories: A Comparative Exploration of African-Caribbean and Jewish History and Memory in Modern Britain

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Kegan Paul, 2006 - History - 273 pages
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The dynamics of ethnicity, diaspora, identity and community are the defining features of contemporary life, giving rise to important and exciting new interdisciplinary fields of study and literature on subjects that were previously seen as the exclusive domain of the social sciences. Connecting Histories is an important contribution to this trend. While using sociological and anthropological theories, it is an innovative historical and comparative assessment of ethnic identities and memories. Romain investigates the ways in which 'communities' remember their experiences, focussing on Afro-Caribbean and Jewish individuals and groups in Britain. By examining life histories and 'autobiographical acts' including autobiography, oral history and travel writing, it assesses the ways in which mythologies affect collective memory and personal identities. Key themes include the memories of migration and myths of the Mother Country and Promised Land, the re-remembering of racist riots in early twentieth century Britain, and reflections on community and diasporic identities. The value and originality of Connecting Histories lie in the juxtaposition of two communities - Afro-Caribbean and Jewish - which have many parallels in historical experience, but have rarely been compared to each other. This important study contributes significantly to the understanding of ethnicity, identity and diasporic communities worldwide. Book jacket.

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Contents

Myths of Migration in Jewish
45
Myths Silence and Autobiographical Contexts
59
The SelfKnowing Autobiographical Voice
83
Copyright

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About the author (2006)

Gemma Romain works at The National Archives, Kew on a Heritage Lottery Fund project called 'Your Caribbean Heritage', cataloguing and researching colonial office original correspondence from the British Caribbean. She is the author of 'Connecting Histories: A Comparative Exploration of African-Caribbean and Jewish History and Memory in Modern Britain', to be published by Kegan Paul in autumn 2005. Previously, she carried out her Ph.D. at the Parkes Institute, University of Southampton, where she compared and analysed ethnic memories and histories of African-Caribbean and Jewish communities in modern Britain. Her postdoctoral fellowship at the AHRB Parkes Centre explored diasporic and ethnic identities of Jews inthe Atlantic world. She wasalso a researcher and writer for the 'Connections: Hidden British Histories' project, a historical exhibition exploring Asian, Caribbean, and Jewish history in Britain.Additionally, she is a committee member of the Society for Caribbean Studies [UK].

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