Sarah Ellen ZARROW

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Cooper Union, New York

Adjunct Assistant Professor


Research project: Collecting Themselves: Jewish Documentation and Display in Interwar Poland

My project examines Jewish ethnographic and art collection practice, which reached its apex as a movement in Poland between the two world wars. Between 1919 and 1939, Poland experienced a Jewish collection boom as multiple Jewish museums opened their doors to the public and hundreds of zamlers (amateur collectors) mobilized to document their towns’ folkways. In a reconstituted Poland, Jewish collectors increasingly conceived of and portrayed Jews as having a civic Polish identity as well as a Jewish one. By focusing on cultural activists and communal figures, I offer an interpretation of geopolitical change from the perspective of non-elites. I will complete the revisions and prepare a prospectus for presses by June 2017. I am also beginning to conceptualize a second project on one of the themes that drove my dissertation research: the popular understanding of geopolitical changes in Europe wrought by World War One. I intend to write a history of informal communication in Galicia from the turn of the century through the interwar period, combining the history of the European post with a study of intra-European leisure travel.

A full-length study is available here.