Aby Warburg: Kulturwissenschaft, Judaism and the Politics of Identity

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This article considers Aby Warburg's political beliefs and the ways in which they informed his project of a cultural history of the image. It argues that as the member of a leading banking family in Hamburg, Warburg assimilated the social and political values of the German liberal bourgeoisie, which underpinned an ambivalent attitude towards his Jewish origins. It also examines Warburg's understanding of anti-Semitism; it argues that due to his attachment to a concern with the recurrence of repressed trauma, he proved totally unable to account for the modern phenomenon of anti-Semitism, except by recourse to notions of mythic archetypes.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)317-35
Number of pages19
JournalOxford Art Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011