Dissertationsprojekt: Music as a Vehicle of Performing Jewish Identities in Prague Synagogues and Prayer Rooms
The aim of this mainly musical anthropology research is to describe, analyze and to interpret the process of searching for Jewish identity through the changes of Jewish religious music in Prague and through the positions taken by its participants. During the last centuries (mainly the 19th century), the Jewish ritual music has gone through changes which have been depending on what did it mean to be a Jew at that time – what did the actors want to be and how did they fullfil this idea through the performance. Attention is paid to the social-historical context of different types of ritual music design, to the period´s aesthetic ideals and to the conflicts about what is the real Jewish music performance. All these phenomenons show a deeper social negotiation of the community members about the poignant question, how to be the right Jew and how to integrate the components of one’s identity at the same time. The research project draws on historical musical and non-musical sources from Prague, and combines qualitative approaches of social and historical anthropology and anthropology of music.