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The Birkbeck Institute for the Study of Antisemitism holds seminars, workshops and conferences for scholars, and lectures, discussions and film screenings that are open to everyone.

After Liberation – Legacies of the Nazi Concentration Camps

After Liberation – Legacies of the Nazi Concentration Camps

Professor Nikolaus Wachsmann, Birkbeck, University of London

Professor Wachsmann will explore the second life of Edgar Kupfer and the lives of others who survived the concentration camps, estimated at up to half a million people. He will consider the first months and years after liberation, looking at the fate of survivors, at the testimony and memory of the camps, and at the punishment of perpetrators.

Beyond Camps and Forced Labour

7th January, 2015

Beyond Camps and Forced Labour

Various Speakers

This conference is planned as a follow-up to the four successful conferences, which took place at Imperial War Museum London in 2003, 2006, 2009 and 2012. The aim is to bring together scholars from a variety of disciplines who are engaged in research on all groups of survivors of Nazi persecution.

Remapping Survival: Jewish Refugees and Rescue in Soviet Central Asia, Iran and India

Remapping Survival: Jewish Refugees and Rescue in Soviet Central Asia, Iran and India

Professor Atina Grossmann, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, New York

Professor Grossmann addresses a transnational Holocaust story that remarkably – despite several decades of intensive scholarly and public attention to the history and memory of the Shoah – has remained essentially untold, marginalized in both historiography and commemoration.

Shoah: a Landmark of Twentieth Century Cinema

Shoah: a Landmark of Twentieth Century Cinema

Dr Ludivine Broch, University of Westminster and Associate of the Pears Institute for the study of Antisemitism, Birkbeck, University of London; Professor Jane Caplan, Emeritus Professor of Modern European History, University of Oxford and Visiting Professor, Birkbeck, University of London; Professor Michael Chanan, University of Roehampton

This is a rare opportunity to see Shoah in its entirety and have a discussion dealing with its significance as a cinematic work, as testimony, and as an interpretation of the Holocaust.

Enjoy the Music – The Pianist Edith Kraus, film screening and discussion

Enjoy the Music – The Pianist Edith Kraus, film screening and discussion

Marita Barthel-Rösing, psychoanalyst and filmmaker and Professor Stephen Frosh, Birkbeck, University of London. Chair: Professor Sasha Roseneil, Birkbeck, University of London

This remarkable film-documentary tells the story of Edith Kraus a talented young Jewish pianist who survived the Theresienstadt (Terezin) ghetto by giving concerts.  Edith Kraus tells her story – of trauma and of life – in words and music.

Hannah Arendt

26th April, 2015

Hannah Arendt

Robert Fine, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, University of Warwick and Professor Lyndsey Stonebridge, University of East Anglia

This award-winning biopic/film explores the life of Hannah Arendt, the influential German-Jewish philosopher and political theorist. Arendt’s reporting on the 1961 trial of Adolf Eichmann, one of the major figures in the organization of the Holocaust introduced her now-famous concept of the ‘Banality of Evil.’

The Armenian Genocide – Reflections and Comparisons

The Armenian Genocide – Reflections and Comparisons

Professor Cathie Carmichael, University of East Anglia; Professor Marcello Flores, University of Siena; Professor A. Dirk Moses, European University Institute, Florence; Professor Philip Spencer, Visiting Professor, Birkbeck, University of London, Emeritus Professor, Kingston University; Dr. Uğur Ümit Üngör, University of Utrecht

In this half-day workshop, a number of leading genocide scholars will reflect on some of the key issues raised by the Armenian genocide and on its significance in the wider context of the history of the ‘crime of crimes’, both in relation to the Holocaust and to other cases.

Why are we Obsessed with the Nazis? The Third Reich in History and Memory: Richard Evans and Ian Kershaw in conversation with Nikolaus Wachsmann

Why are we Obsessed with the Nazis? The Third Reich in History and Memory: Richard Evans and Ian Kershaw in conversation with Nikolaus Wachsmann

Sir Richard J. Evans, Wolfson College, Cambridge and Gresham College, London and Sir Ian Kershaw, Emeritus Professor of Modern History, University of Sheffield in conversation with Professor Nikolaus Wachsmann, Birkbeck, University of London

In a rare public event, two of the world’s leading historians of modern Germany reflect on the ways in which our understanding of Nazi Germany has been transformed and continues to evolve.

Trauma on the Eastern Front: European Jews and the First World War

Trauma on the Eastern Front: European Jews and the First World War

Professor David Rechter, University of Oxford

The importance of the war for European and global history has been evident for a hundred years. Its consequences and meanings for Jews and Jewish history, however, have received remarkably little attention. Only by understanding the Jewish experience of the First World War, David Rechter suggests, can we properly grasp the course of later Jewish history and the tragedy that was to come. 

Gender, Memory and Genocide: An International Conference Marking 100 Years Since the Armenian Genocide

4th June, 2015

Gender, Memory and Genocide: An International Conference Marking 100 Years Since the Armenian Genocide

Arlene Avakian, Massachusetts; Donald Bloxham, Edinburgh; Fatma Müge Göcek, Michigan; Stefanie Schüler-Springorum, Berlin

In this conference we aim to bring together Holocaust scholars with experts in the emerging field of gender and genocide. 2015 will mark the centenary of the Armenian genocide and, accordingly, we aim to pay particular attention to research that focuses on its specific history and memory.

Paupers and Bankers: Modern Representation of Jews and Money

9th June, 2015

Paupers and Bankers: Modern Representation of Jews and Money

Bryan Cheyette, University of Reading; Derek J. Penslar, University of Oxford and the University of Toronto; Gideon Rueveni, Centre for German Jewish Studies, University of Sussex; Yonatan Sagiv, Israel Institute, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London; Adam Sutcliffe, Kings College London; Nadia Valman, Queen Mary, University of London

The workshop’s emphasis is on modern writing about Jews, money and economy. It aims to provide a forum for presenting and analysing the most recent critical and theoretical approaches for understanding self-representations of Jewish economic activity in the modern Diaspora, Mandate Palestine and Israel.

Race, Equality and the Law

Race, Equality and the Law

Dr Omar Khan, Runnymede Trust; Dr Camilla Schofield, University of East Anglia; Dr Anastasia Vakulenko, University of Birmingham

This collaborative event marks the 50th anniversary of the UK’s first Race Relations Act. Three scholars working in this field reflect on the history of race relations law in Britain and offer their perspectives on what has been achieved, and looking forward, what still needs to be done.

Immigration and National Identity in Britain Since 1945

19th October, 2015

Immigration and National Identity in Britain Since 1945

Professor David Feldman, Director, Pears Institute for the study of Antisemitism, Birkbeck, University of London

Refugees and other migrants evoke powerful responses from politicians, the press and the public. In the middle of the twentieth century just 2% of the British population was born abroad, today the equivalent figure is 13%. In this timely lecture, David Feldman explores how changing ideas about British identity have shaped responses to immigration.

When Jewish Societies Were Banned: Zionists, Anti-Zionists and the Politics of Anti-Racism

22nd October, 2015

When Jewish Societies Were Banned: Zionists, Anti-Zionists and the Politics of Anti-Racism

Dave Rich, Community Security Trust and Pears Institute Associate

This talk will describe these campus battles between Zionist and anti-Zionist activists, both of whom claimed to be opposing racism. In so doing, it will explore the origins of New Left anti-Zionism and its relationship to the idea of a ‘new antisemitism’.

The Left and Jews in Britain Today

The Left and Jews in Britain Today

Alan Johnson, Britain Israel Communications & Research Centre; Lesley Klaff, Sheffield Hallam University and UK Lawyers for Israel; David Rosenberg, educator, author and Jewish Socialist Group; Nadia Valman, Queen Mary, University of London and Independent Jewish Voices

The aim of the panel will be to ask to what extent relations between Jews and the left have turned sour. In so far as they have, why has this happened? Does negative commentary in the Jewish press and elsewhere reflect or inflame opinion? Finally, the panel will ask what it is that Jews and people on the left should do now?

Racism and Nationalism After the Scottish Referendum and 2015 General Election

13th November, 2015

Racism and Nationalism After the Scottish Referendum and 2015 General Election

Speakers: Dr Steve Garner, Open University; Dr Bethan Harries, University of Manchester; Dr Ronit Lentin, Trinity College Dublin; Dr Brendan McGeever, Pears Institute for the study of Antisemitism, Birkbeck, University of London; Dr Nasar Meer, University of Edinburgh; Professor Anoop Nayak, Newcastle University; Professor Satnam Virdee, University of Glasgow

This one day colloquium will revisit the relationship between racism and nationalism in light of historic events of the past 12 months – the Scottish Referendum of September 2014 and the General Election of May 2015.

Europe’s Migrant Crisis and the Populist Right

Europe’s Migrant Crisis and the Populist Right

Professor Chris Bertram, University of Bristol; David Goodhart, Demos Integration Hub; Professor Matthew Goodwin, University of Kent; Dr Daphne Halikiopoulou, University of Reading; Professor Eric Kaufmann, Birkbeck, University of London

This event brings together leading commentators and scholars to discuss British and European asylum and immigration policy and what current research tells us about the implications of the migrant crisis for the rise of the populist right.

Solidarity with Palestine, Anti-Zionism and Antisemitism in the Context of the Gaza Wars Since 2009: A Comparison of Muslim Communities in France, Great Britain and Austria

We will demonstrate that perceptions of conflicts in the Middle East are often overlaid by memories of the Holocaust, by debates about colonialism, and an increasing anti-Muslim racism in Europe.

Blood Fractions: the Octoroon and Other Fantasies

Blood Fractions: the Octoroon and Other Fantasies

Professor Roger Luckhurst, Birkbeck, University of London

In Victorian culture, the octoroon (a person with one-eighth black blood) was a kind of vanishing point, a focus of anxiety about detecting the taint of ‘bad’ blood. While in the twentieth century, the Nazis sought to protect ‘pure’ German blood from becoming tainted by the blood of Jews. Professor Luckhurst explores literary and cultural representations of mixed bloods.

Genealogies of the Future

Genealogies of the Future

Professor Jonathan Boyarin, Cornell University

Drawing on documents ranging from a late story by Grace Paley, to recent ethnography of Yiddish philanthropy as fictive kinship, to artistic re-imaginings of a lost family album, Professor Boyarin will begin to articulate the hopes and anxieties underlying the tenuous image of the future in which our records of the past take shape. 

Professor David Feldman, Director – 4

Our work shows how antisemitism has often been intertwined with anti-Muslim, anti-migrant, anti-black and anti-Irish bigotries. Antisemitism and other racisms should not be considered in isolation and still less in competition.

Professor David Feldman, Director

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