Call for Articles: Special Issue "Precarious Archives, Precarious Voices. Expanding Jewish Narratives from the Margins"


“Like belongings washed upon the seashore, testimonial objects of survivors – albums, collages, sketches, difficult to decipher manuscripts – are being collected and, because of the precariousness inherent in their message and authenticity, they are passed from one to another.” Mona Körte, Flaschenpost. Vom “Eigenleben” jüdischer Erinnerungsarchive

The archival turn in contemporary art, the opening of archives in Eastern Europe, the third generation’s ongoing quest to interpret fragments of familial papers, and the new digital availability of smaller archival collections suggest that our access to historical material and sources has been democratized. Expanding definitions of source materials have animated researchers to implement new methodologies for reanalyzing old narratives and/or for examining hitherto marginalized narratives. This special issue seeks to make visible voices which have been unheard until now and to discuss new methodological lenses demanded by these materials.

  • What ‘overlooked’ stories are being found in archives and how can they be explored and presented?
  • How can newly accessible sources be approached and what issues or challenges arise in working with such ‘new’ materials?
  • To what extent does the analysis of these materials call for the incorporation of their respective source history, provenance, and/or condition?

Taking as a point of departure last year’s Simon Wiesenthal Workshop Precarious Archives, Precarious Voices from November 2021, we invite you to follow-up on these and other questions by submitting articles, essays, or artistic interventions focusing on but not limited to:

  • Gender: How are gendered experiences inscribed/transformed/excluded in the process of archiving? How do we as a research community grapple with questions of accessibility, visibility, and blind spots, for instance, regarding LGBTIQ* perspectives and/or sexualized violence?
  • Objects and Materiality: How can we gain historical insights from testimonial objects and their materiality? Which (physical) traces do they bear, which stories do they tell? How do we include/exclude objects as sources? How are objects explored and framed in transgenerational engagements with historical events?
  • Precarity: How can marginalized voices and their archival transmission be traced? How do we deal with fragmentation and the (im-)possibilities of forming coherent narratives? How is the unlikeliness of certain sources/testimonies/objects to find an addressee/an audience addressed in our research?

Texts can be submitted for publication within the following sections of the special issue:

Article: peer-reviewed scholarly contributions (40,000 characters including spaces)

Coming-To-Terms: personal accounts and artistic interventions ranging from personal recollections and family-history research projects to historical studies. (40,000 characters including spaces)

Essay: reflections on sources, methods, and texts from an analytical, methodological, and interpretational approach focusing on challenges and new potentials (10,000 characters including spaces)

Note: The VWI will cover the costs for English language proof-reading.

Please register via OJS and submit your article via this link: Registration for authors

For any questions please contact the editors via

Deadline for contributions: 1 October 2022 – Date of publication: April/May 2023