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Between Marginality and Multiplicity: Mapping Jewish Public Home-Making in Modern Stockholm

The doctoral project explores the construction, contestation and maintenance of the multiplicity of sacred spaces among Stockholm's Jewry, as well as the performance of diverse bodily movements in between Jewish urban sites. It evaluates communal and individual strategies for making Stockholm a Jewish home between the emancipation in 1870 and the Second World War. The Jewish community in the Swedish capital had a keen interest in the existence and shape of religious institutions and traditions, such as synagogues, mikvot (ritual baths), the keeping of kashrut, and religious schools. By investigating the Jewish/non-Jewish relations, inner-communal hierarchies, and the urban topography impacting the construction, shape and use of sacred places, I explore the dialectic between the public performances of Jewishness and the Swedish national identity. The project is theoretically and methodologically interdisciplinary: it is based on spatial and performative theories, and uses gendered, ethnomusicological, architectural, geographical, digital, sociological, and oral historical methods. With such an eclectic study, I show that the Swedish-Jewish community collectively needed and promoted the continuation of Jewish spatial traditions and rituals to uphold their social cohesion in a Nordic capital that geographically fragmented and individualized their residences and practices.

The project lasted between 2013 and 2019, and was associated with my doctoral position at the Department of History and the Parkes Institute for the Study of Jewish/non-Jewish Relations at University of Southampton in the U.K. The PhD-thesis was finished during my doctoral fellowship at Leibniz-Institute of European History in Mainz, Germany in 2019. The project attracted close to 500,000 SEK (€60,000/£55,000) of international funding. It was funded by The Vice Chancellors' Award in History and the Brumfit-Mitchell Post-Graduate Award at University of Southampton, the Memorial Foundation for Jewish CultureHelge Ax:son Johnsons stiftelse and Gertrude och Ivar Philipsons stiftelse, as well as numerous international research grants, conference grants, and travel bursaries from, for example, the Urban History Group, Karl-Franzens-Universität in Graz, the British Association for Jewish Studies, the Humanities Post-Graduate Student Research Fund at University of Southampton, the Helen Reinfrank Fond, University of Sussex, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

The results of the project have so far been published as academic articles, source descriptions, and chapters in popular books, and parts of the project have been converted into public city tours. A redeveloped version will be published in 2023 under the title Jewish Feelings in the City: Emotional Topography and Power Relations in Modern Stockholm.

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