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Dana E. Katz

Dana E. Katz (Center Fellow; 2010-2012) is Associate Professor of Art History and Humanities at Reed College, where she teaches courses related to Italian Renaissance art, early modern culture in Europe and the Americas, and art historical methodologies. Her research examines the relations and negotiations between Jewish cultural history and the visual culture of the Italian Renaissance. In her book The Jew in the Art of the Italian Renaissance (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008), she explores the politics of tolerance in the Italian courts through representations of the Jew in early modern painting and sculpture. Although Renaissance princes often favored Jewish settlement in their territories and supported civic policies of toleration, the art of the period reveals how symbolic violence targeted against local Jews entered into everyday life. The book exposes the role art played in deflecting violence against Jews to a symbolic status and the interrelations between protection and persecution in the early modern context. Whereas The Jew in the Art of the Italian Renaissance examines the dialogical relationship between violence and tolerance as represented in Renaissance art, her new project studies toleration and its boundaries, real and symbolic, within the enclosures of the Venetian ghetto. On March 29, 1516 the Venetian Senate ordered all Jews residing in the city to move behind the walls of the ghetto. The mandate stipulated that the Jews would be watched by six Christian guards twenty-four hours a day and locked into the ghetto at night behind two iron gates. In The Ghetto and the Gaze in Early Modern Venice, she explores the urban form of the Jewish ghetto in Venice from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century as a discourse on space, surveillance, and ethnic enclosure. The singular status of ghetto architecture provides an opportunity to study the processes of ghettoization that partitioned a population and monitored the activities of Jews and Christians alike.

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