Gabrielle Berlinger

Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, Cultures of Conservation

Vernacular Architecture; Ritual and Material Culture
Public Folklore and Museum AnthropologyJewish Ethnology

Ph.D. Folklore, Indiana University
M.A. Indiana University
B.A. Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania

As a folklorist and ethnologist, I draw upon the arts, humanities, and social sciences to study creative expression in everyday life. Within material culture studies, my work focuses on the nature and significance of vernacular architecture. I examine how the construction, interpretation, and use of ordinary structures and landscapes express their creators' histories, social practices, cultural customs and beliefs. My dissertation is an ethnographic study of the temporary ritual dwellings built for the annual Jewish festival of Sukkot. Based in a multi-ethnic, working-class neighborhood of south Tel Aviv, Israel, I examined the intersection of vernacular religious and architectural practices in a dense urban environment being challenged by socio-economic changes. Currently, I am conducting a collaborative project with the Lower East Side Tenement Museum to document the conservation process of the Museum's 19th century tenement building, a study that brings together architectural preservation, social history, and museum anthropology.

Under review Article: “Protest Camps and Ritual Dwellings: Sukkot in the Garden of Hope,” Buildings & Landscapes, University of Minnesota Press.

2014  Article: “The Politics of Preservation and Heritage Construction at The Lower East Side Tenement Museum” in Amoêda, Rogério, Sérgio Lira, and Cristina Pinheiro,  eds., Heritage 2014 – Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Heritage and Sustainable Development (eBook). Barcelos, Portual: Green Lines Institute.  ISBN: 978-989-98013-7-0

2010 Book Chapter: “770 Eastern Parkway: The Rebbe’s Home as Icon” in Simon J. Bronner, ed., Jews at Home: The Domestication of Ritual (Jewish Cultural Series, vol. 2). Oxford: Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, pp. 163-187. 

Gabrielle Berlinger's courses include:

897 "Cultural Conservation": Preserving Place and Practice (Mellon Curriculum)
906 Vernacular New York: Architecture / Landscapes / Tradition
Contact Gabrielle Berlinger
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