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Francesco Spagnolo JEWISH 121 - GLOBAL 140

spagnoloacht@berkeley.edu UC Berkeley, Spring 2019
Office: 2121 Allston Way The Magnes, 2121 Allston Way
Hours: WED 5-6 pm & by appt. WED 2-5 pm

Culture & Performance

Mapping Diasporas
Jewish Culture, Museums, & Digital Humanities

How do we “map” cultures in motion?

Describing the interaction of places, times, languages, identities, cultural formats, dominant
and marginal narratives that characterize ​cultures in diaspora ​requires a
multidimensionality that ​traditional maps n ​ o longer meet.

In today’s world, we “map” diasporas through ​digital narratives​, and often ​perform
culture​ as ​archivists ​and ​curators​.

In this course, students will work with the ​cultural objects held in ​The Magnes
Collection of Jewish Art and Life​, including art, material culture, books, manuscripts,
digital assets and data, learning to conduct collaborative research and documentation, to
create maps and narratives, and how to curate, perform and publish their findings in
museum galleries​ and ​online​.

Each week in the semester combines critical approaches and orienting texts with the
exploration of a variety of tools and cultural practices.

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WEEK 1 – INTRODUCTION: Performing the Museum, Displacing Culture
Date: 1.23.2019

Resources (explored and discussed in class):

❏ Jake Silverstein, “​The Displaced​,” ​The New York Times​, 11.15.2015 (Photographic
and Virtual Reality Coverage of Syrian Refugee Crisis)
❏ Aaron Glanz-Leyeles (1889-1966), ​Der got fun yisroel​ (“The God of Israel,” 1947)
❏ Francesco Spagnolo, ​mima’amaqim ​(exhibition notes)​: 12-14, and ​exhibition website
(Contemporary Jewish Museum, 2015)

In-Class Activities:
❏ Review the Syllabus and ask Questions!
❏ Exhibition-in-progress: ​Memory Objects
❏ Virtual Reality Archeology (with ​Google Cardboard - Google VR​)


WEEK 2 - Handling the Museum

Date: 1.30.2019

In-Class Activities:
❏ Object Handling Workshop,​ with ​Julie Franklin​, Registrar, The Magnes
❏ Visit ​The Magnes​: guided and self-guided tours of galleries, storage, and processing
areas, with Dr. ​Shir Kochavi​, Assistant Curator, The Magnes

❏ Charles R. Garoian, “Performing the Museum,” in ​Studies in Art Education​ 42/3
(Spring 2001): 234-248
❏ Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, ​The Museum: a Refuge for Utopian Thought​ (2004)

⇒ Submit a 1-page (max 300 words) review of one of the resources listed above
via bCourses AND in class (on paper)

WEEK 3 – Mapping the Unknown: The Library of Babel

Date: 2.6.2019

❏ Jorge Luis Borges, “The Library of Babel” (1941), in ​Ficciones/Fictions​ (1944)
❏ Umberto Eco, ​The Name of the Rose​ (1980) [distant reading: search PDF on
bCourses for the words: “library” and “labyrinth”]
❏ The Name of the Rose​ (dir. Jean-Jacques Annaud, Italy-West Germany-France, 1986,
130’) ​imdb link​ (check bCourses on how to watch this movie AHEAD OF CLASS)
❏ Walter Benjamin, “On the Mimetic Faculty,” in ​Reflections​ (1933) [focus on p. 335]

In-Class Activities (8.30.2018):

❏ Organize a bookshelf (of likely unreadable books)
❏ Field trip planning

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WEEK 4 – Finding Diasporas (by BART)
Date: 2.13.2019

⇒ ​Meet​ with Deputy Director, ​James Leventhal​, at MOAD-Museum of the African Diaspora
moadsf.org​ ​by 2:50 PM​ (31 minutes from Berkeley Downtown ​BART​)

Additional field trips recommendations for the “museum addicted”:

❏ Student recommendations (posted on ​bCourses’ discussion page​)
❏ Asian Art Museum: ​asianart.org
❏ Oakland Museum of California: ​museumca.org
❏ de Young Museum: ​deyoung.famsf.org
❏ GLBT Historical Society: ​glbthistory.org
❏ Contemporary Jewish Museum: ​thecjm.org

WEEK 5 - Mapping the Similar: Theme and Variations

Date: 2.20.2019

❏ Raymond Queneau, ​Exercises in Style (​ 1947): 19-26
❏ J.S. Bach, ​Goldberg Variations,​ BWV 988 (1741): ​score and performance on YouTube
❏ Peter Williams, ​Bach: The Goldberg Variations,​ Cambridge UP 2001: “Introduction”
(pp. 1-13) and “Overall shape” (p. 35-39, and 45-50)
❏ Uri Caine, ​The Goldberg Variations​ (2000): ​performance on YouTube​ and CD notes
❏ Josh Kun, ​Audiotopia: Music, Race, and America​, UC Press 2005: “Introduction” (pp.
1–28) ​Electronic Resource link​ (UCB access only)

In-Class Activity:
❏ “Mind mapping” software and platforms: research, evaluate, test

WEEK 6 – Mapping (the Objects of) Memory

Date: 2.27.2019

❏ Jonathan Safran Foer, ​Everything is Illuminated​ (2002): read pp. 1-7; 59-62;
146-160; and also take a look at the “list” on pp. 197-213
❏ Everything is Illuminated​ (dir. Liev Schreiber, USA 2005) ​imdb link​ (check bCourses
on how to watch this movie AHEAD OF CLASS)
❏ Joshua Foer, ​ Moonwalking with Einstein,​ 2011: Ch. 1, “The Smartest Man is Hard to
Find”; Ch. 2, “The Man Who Remembered Too Much”; Ch. 5, “The Memory Palace”
❏ Ziv Schneider and Laura Chen, ​RecoVR Mosul​ (2015)

In-Class Activities:
❏ Memory, Objects, and Places: UC Berkeley ​History and discoveries​ and ​Campus map
❏ Plan Project Abstracts​ ​(due in class on 3.13.2019)
a. Topic/Thesis
b. Sources
c. Tools
d. Title
e. Subtitle
f. Delivery/Presentation/Publication methods

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WEEK 7 – Towards a Map (or a History?) of Emotions
Date: 3.6.2019

❏ Carlo Ginzburg, “Clues: Roots of an Evidential Paradigm,” in ​Clues, Myths, and the
Historical Method ​ (1986): 96–125
❏ Aby Warburg, ​Mnemosyne Atlas ​(1927): w ​ arburg.library.cornell.edu
❏ Atlas Obscura: ​atlasobscura.com

⇒ In-Class​ ​Midterm Examination​: Create a collaborative “atlas” with ​linoit.com

WEEK 8 – From Cartography to the Web, From Maps to Narratives

Date: 3.13.2019

❏ T. Presner, D. Shepard, Y. Kawano, ​Hypercities: Thick Mapping in the Digital
Humanities​ (2014): 12-65 [Lexicon: 12-21; The Humanities in the Digital
Humanities: 22-65] and website companion: ​hypercities.com
❏ Map History/History of Cartography: ​maphistory.info
❏ Francesco Spagnolo and The Magnes, ​Jewish Digital Narratives​ project

In-Class Activity (9.27.2018):

❏ Explore and compare ​HistoryPin​, ​Findery​, and other mapping/publication tools

⇒ Project Abstracts Due! Today! (In class)


WEEK 9 – Working with Cultural Objects

Date: 3.20.2019

❏ Igor Kopytoff, “The Cultural Biography of Things,” in ​The Social Life of Things:
Commodities in Cultural Perspective (​ 1986): 64–90
❏ Bill Brown, “Thing Theory,” Critical Inquiry 28/1 (Autumn, 2001): 1-22

In-Class Activity:
❏ Object handling refresher
❏ Present and discuss Project Abstracts (begin working with sources!)

WEEK 10 – Making History? Collecting, Archiving, Cataloging

Date: 4.3.2019

❏ Walter Benjamin, “Unpacking my Library. A Talk About Book Collecting,” in
Illuminations​, Schocken, New York 2007: 59-67
❏ Jacques Derrida, “Archive Fever. A Freudian Impression,” ​Diacritics ​25/2 (Summer
1995): 9-11; 61-63
❏ Visual Resources Association. ​CCO Commons: ​Cataloging Cultural Objects: A Guide
to Describing Cultural Works and Their Images.​ ​American Library Association Editions
2006: 3-40; 48-50 ​http://cco.vrafoundation.org

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❏ Francesco Spagnolo, “Cultural Content and Digital Form, or The Other Way Around?
Jewish Collections, Research and the Digital Renaissance,” in Capriotti and Feliciati
eds. ​Judaica Europeana​, Università di Macerata 2011: 249-274

In-Class Activity:
❏ Work with archival materials from The Magnes (Shanghai collections)

WEEK 11 - Rare Books and Manuscripts

Date: 4.10.2019

❏ Gershon Zilberberg and Jennifer Breger, "Printing, Hebrew," ​Encyclopaedia Judaica.​
Berenbaum and Skolnik eds. 2nd ed. Vol. 16. Detroit, Macmillan Reference USA,
2007: 529-540 (​Gale Virtual Reference Library link​, UCB access only)
❏ Footprints. Jewish Books Through Time and Place​: ​footprints.ccnmtl.columbia.edu

In-Class Activity:
❏ Work with rare books and manuscripts from The Magnes (India collections)

WEEK 12 – Art and Material Culture

Date: 4.17.2019

❏ Georg Simmel, “The Handle,” ​The Hudson Review​ 11/3 (Autumn 1958): 371-378
❏ Leora Auslander, “Jews and Material Culture.” in ​The Cambridge History of Judaism​,
ed. by Mitchell B. Hart and Tony Michels, 8, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,
2017: 804–30

In-Class Activity:
❏ Work with art and material culture from The Magnes


WEEK 13 – Group Workshop: Dreaming (Ideas and Resources)

Date: 4.24.2019

❏ Meet composer Aviya Kopelman (Schusterman Visiting Artist): ​http://aviya.info

WEEK 14 – Group Workshop: Planning (Narrative and Tools)

Date: 5.1.2019


Date: 5.14.2019 | Time: 11:30 am - 2:30 pm | Location: 2121 Allston Way

A Note on Course Assignments and Course Blog

All assignments for this course are available via the UC Berkeley Library portal, bCourses, or
links provided in class. Some resources are restricted to UC Berkeley accounts (setup guide:
www.lib.berkeley.edu/using-the-libraries/connect-off-campus​). A course blog is published at

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General Requirements

❏ Regularly attend class meetings and be on time. (Unexcused absences will affect
your grade).
❏ Be prepared ahead of time for all lectures and activities: be thoroughly familiar with
all assigned resource materials, ready to discuss them, and to ask questions.
❏ Participate in all class meetings actively and critically (physical presence does not
qualify as class participation).
❏ Complete all assignments on time. Late work will not be accepted unless you have
received a written confirmation by the instructor prior to the assignment deadline

Grades will be based on the following:

1. Attendance and participation​ (lectures, workshops, required activities) 30%
2. Four (​unannounced​) ​Response Exercises ​based​ ​on the week’s assignments 10%
3. Midterm Examination (​held on ​Wednesday, March 6, 2019​) 20%
4. Projects Abstracts​ (due on ​Wednesday, March 13, 2019​) 20%
5. Final Examination ​(held on T​ uesday, May 14, 2019, 11:30 am - 2:30 pm​) 20%

What are “Projects”?

Projects involve ​researching a topic centering on the theme of “culture in motion”,
and consist of ​class presentations and/or performances​ which must involve a
narrative (or “curated”) use of​ ​cultural objects​ (found in UC Berkeley campus
collections, other collections, or ​anywhere​ students wish to conduct their research) centered
upon or complemented by the ​creation of related, well-structured,​ ​digital
documentation​ based on maps, datasets, images, sounds, videos, mashups, and more.

All projects will involve a certain degree of writing, but also draw on other skills. The
starting points of these assignments are found more often than not in your ​Syllabus​: read
it thoroughly! Choose a topic/project that speaks to you, in terms of content as well as the
form in which you choose to deliver your work. Students are free to find different learning
paths: consulting with the instructor (during office hours) will help you to focus on your own
interests, expand your research tools, and learn how to most effectively manage the
resources offered by the course, along with others available through the University Library.

Projects can be prepared by individual students or by small groups (max 3 students). In

order to accomplish this, students will need to: select a topic, find fellow students with
whom you want to work, and consult with the instructor so that you can submit a proposal,
or ​Abstract​ (​due by​ ​Wednesday, 3.13.2019​), and, if you (really) wish, receive a prompt.
All projects must be pre-approved, in writing, by the instructor.

A Note on R&R Week

No additional materials will be assigned during “dead week,” but class ​may​ meet if
preparations for the Final Exam require us to do so.

Last But Definitely Not Least...

The use of electronic devices in this class is not only encouraged, but required for most
in-class activities. Speak with your instructor if you need assistance in obtaining one.

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