Dress British, think Yiddish pin.
1. Literary scholar Susan Stewart argues that a souvenir “must remain... partial so that it can be supplemented by a narrative discourse... which articulates the play of desire.” By this definition, many of the objects discussed in “Absolut Tchotchke” might be understood as souvenirs of Yiddish. What exactly are they souvenirs of? What kinds of narratives supplement them? What desires do these emblems of postvernacular Yiddish express? What are the social practices associated with these objects—their production, marketing, consumption, exchange, collection, display—and what do they tell us about the postvernacular nature of Yiddish?
2. The production of these objects is almost exclusively a North American postwar phenomenon. What do these objects reveal about postwar North American Jewish culture and its relationship to the world that Yiddish represents? In what ways are these objects indicative of the place of Yiddish in North American culture more generally?
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