- A “Capable Wife” or a “Woman of Valor”?: Reading Gendered Discourses and the Commemoration of Women in Vienna’s Jewish Cemeteries
- Nashim: A Journal of Jewish Women's Studies & Gender Issues
- Indiana University Press
- Number 32, Spring 5778/2018
- pp. 77-101
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- Additional Information
Cemeteries are profound memorial sites for the life of a community, reflecting manifestations of individual, familial and communal self-understandings in a range of contexts: religiosity, economy, class, gender, profession, education and other markers. This paper utilizes a novel approach to reading the sepulchral epigraphy of Vienna’s Jewish cemeteries for an analysis of diachronic developments in gender constructions and the commemoration of women in the longue durée of Vienna’s Jewish history from the late Middle Ages into the present day. While demonstrating both the consistent subordination of women in the memorial canon of the Jewish community and the increasing contestation of gendered and other commemorative codes going into the modern period, this paper demonstrates, through the explication of these cemeteries as communal archives, that a proper understanding of Vienna’s complex Jewish history is impossible without regard for the intersecting discourses of gender, religiosity, class and Jewishness.