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Film, television, and new media studies

TitleFilm, television, and new media studies
Publication TypeBook Chapter
AuthorsAbrams, N
Book TitleThe Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Jewish Cultures
film, New Media, Television

Screen sources, such as film, television, and new media, are valuable resources for studying both the Jewish past and the present. This is, in part, because of their reliance on visual stereotypes to communicate information quickly and easily. Stereotypes are regularly repeated, simplistic, easily understood, and (often) inaccurate categorizations of a social group (Abrams et al. 2010: 365). Stereotypes in general, and Jewish ones in particular, fulfill many functions and much has been written about this especially in terms of how they perform cultural work in demonizing minority groups from the outside, and perpetuating group solidarity and continuity from the inside. Since stereotypes do not stay static and because screen media tend to rely on them, they

allow us to map and track wider changes in the society from which those texts originate. They “change because the cultural patterns on which they are based are becoming anachronistic” (Antler 1998: 256). Likewise, screen stereotypes of Jews, existing almost as long as the media themselves, have evolved, and a diachronic study of screen media allows us to map the metamorphosis of the Jew/ess and what this tells us about the societies in which they live at any given point in time. For these reasons, then, the study of Jewish film, television, and new media is a highly pro-

ductive field with its own specific histories, identities, agents, productions, production contexts, industries, and festivals.
Book Editors

Nadia Valman, Laurence Roth