Master Narratives and the (Pictorial) Construction of Otherness: Anti-Semitic Images in the Third Reich and Beyond

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Abstract

Collective identities of the Self (or Ego) vs. the Other are not only conveyed in and between cultures through verbal discourse but also through pictures. Such cultural constructions are often established and consolidated by storytelling, where, briefly put, events or situations are temporally ordered. Pictures and visual artworks may be powerful narrative resources for establishing and consolidating cultural stances and framing actions. In this paper, I shall focus upon demarcation efforts of Jews as the Other from the Middle Ages onwards, in the Third Reich’s iconography, and in modern, radicalized forms of anti-Semitic picturing in Arab media. Within overarching master stories staging a pseudo-historical struggle between various protagonists and Jewish antagonists, considerable efforts have been made to produce pictorial narratives or gists in order to demarcate the Ego from the Other. A number of concrete pictorial examples will be presented from a narratological and cultural semiotic perspective.

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Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Visual Arts

Keywords

  • Pictorial narrativity, master stories, anti-Semitism, cultural semiotics, Middle Ages, National Socialism, Islam, Arab world, cultural semiotics , stereotypes, caricatures
Original languageEnglish
JournalContemporary Aesthetics
Volume15
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jan 4
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes