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Jews and Non-Jews: Memories and Interactions from the Perspective of Cultural Studies

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Edited By Lucyna Aleksandrowicz-Pędich and Jacek Partyka

The book adds new studies of memories and interactions between Jews and non-Jews to the historical and cultural research on this topic. It gathers in one volume the results of work by scholars from several countries, while the topics of the articles cover various disciplines: history, sociology, psychology, literary and language studies. The specific themes refer to the cultures and interactions with non-Jews in places such as Kiev, Vienna, Ireland, Springfield, Sosúa as well as reflect upon interactions in literary texts by Czesław Milosz and other Polish writers, some contemporary Jewish-American novelists and South American writers. Finally there are texts referring to the experience of the Holocaust and the post-Holocaust trauma as well as German-Israeli and Polish-Jewish relations and heritage.
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Stereotyping Through Silence and Speech. Cross-Cultural Differences in Conversational Styles of Poles and Jews as Presented in Polish Literature

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Hanna Komorowska

Stereotyping through Silence and Speech. Cross-Cultural Differences in the Conversational Styles of Poles and Jews as Presented in Polish Literature

Introduction

People make inferences about their conversational partners based on the way they speak. Ways of using silence and speech in interaction, together with types of content, pacing, pausing, taking turns, pitch and intonation are highly individual, yet certain patterns seem to prevail in particular speech communities. Both individual and cross-cultural differences in this field result in different meanings and negative personality characteristics ascribed to the way other people communicate. Mismatches in attributing psychological characteristics to conversational styles often lie at the root of the perception of otherness, and, in consequence, of distance and conflict. Therefore, in the present paper differences in conversational styles prevailing in Polish and Jewish communities as presented in Polish literature will be analysed in order to show how differences in interactional behaviour might have functioned as one more factor leading to the negative stereotyping of Jews in the Polish community. Examples will come from selected Polish novels and short stories of the 19th and 20th centuries by authors such as Konopnicka, Orzeszkowa, Prus, and Reymont, though the persistence of certain perceptions will also be sought in the literary work of the turn of the 21st century, such as recent novels by Chwin and Ostachowicz.

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