AffiliationUniversity of Chester
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AbstractLondon’s East End – a quarter buttressing the city’s docklands – has long been a place of arrival for migrants both domestic and foreign. Characterised in the 19th century by dense housing, tenement blocks, large factories, and low-grade workshops, it was also an area subject to pervasive stigmatisation by on-lookers. It was a stigmatisation which drew upon the area’s reputation as a ‘notorious’ slum quarter and a ‘hotbed’ for crime, complicated by its established status as a reception centre for ‘foreigners’. The large-scale arrival and settlement of Jews from Eastern Europe after 1880 cemented but also extended and diversified such narratives. The rhetoric of the ‘slum’ was now codified with a new, distinctly antisemitic way of describing and degenerating space. The East End slum quarter became ‘the ghetto’, textile factories became ‘sweatshops’, and the East End itself was imaginatively transformed to become ‘little Jerusalem’. Journalists, philanthropists, politicians, novelists, flaneurs and voyeurs all contributed to this spatial lexicon. So too did members of the established Jewish community in Britain both internalise and regurgitate such language as a means to distinguish themselves from their ‘alien’ brethren. This chapter explores the emergence and evolution of this linguistic landscape within cultural discourse of the period, arguing that it was the pre-existing identity of the East End itself as a place apart which allowed this vocabulary to form.
CitationEwence, H. (2024 - forthcoming). Stigmatizing Space: Jewish East London at the Fin de Siecle. In D. Templin (Ed.), Arrival neighborhoods in Europe since the mid-19th century: migrations, cities, infrastructures (pages). Routledge.
DescriptionThis is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge in Arrival Neighborhoods in Europe since the mid-19th Century: Migrations, Cities, Infrastructures [insert date pub], available online: https://www.routledge.com/Arrival-Neighborhoods-in-Europe-since-the-mid-19th-Century-Migrations/Templin/p/book/9781032320502
Series/Report no.Routledge Advances in Urban History
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