Latest Update: Welcome to the website of the Birkbeck Institute for the Study of Antisemitism, formerly the Pears Institute.

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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.

The Memoirs and Memory of Jan Karski

1st February, 2012

The Memoirs and Memory of Jan Karski

Professor Michael Berkowitz, University College London; Professor Antony Polonsky, Brandeis University, Massachusetts; Professeur Annette Wieviorka, CNRS, Paris. Chair; Dr Ludivine Broch, University of Bristol

This round-table involves an international panel who will explore the connections and controversies which have revolved around Karski both during and after his lifetime. They will consider the mythology that has built around the Karski story and try to separate fact from fiction.

A Spiral of Silence? How Germans Talked About the Murder of the Jews During the Second World War

15th February, 2012

A Spiral of Silence? How Germans Talked About the Murder of the Jews During the Second World War

Professor Nicholas Stargardt, University of Oxford

In this lecture, Nicholas Stargardt argues that German perceptions of the Holocaust were primarily shaped by their changing views of the war, with their own predicament, rather than that of the Jews, taking centre stage.

Muslims and Jews: Citizenship, Identity and Prejudice in Europe, the US and Israel – Workshop

23rd February, 2012

Muslims and Jews: Citizenship, Identity and Prejudice in Europe, the US and Israel – Workshop

Humayan Ansari, Royal Holloway, University of London; David Feldman, Pears Institute for the study of Antisemitism, Birkbeck, University of London; Chris Flood, University of Surrey; Ben Gidley,University of Oxford; Keith Kahn-Harris, Birkbeck, University of London; David Hirsh, Goldsmiths, University of London; David Kaposi, University of East London; Maleiha Malik, Kings College London; Nasar Meer, Northumbria University

The aim of the workshop is to contribute to our understanding of the politics of multiculturalism and to advance understanding of the politics of the Israel/Palestine conflict as it is enacted in Britain. 

Bringing the Dark to Light: Memory of the Holocaust in Post-Communist Europe

20th March, 2012

Bringing the Dark to Light: Memory of the Holocaust in Post-Communist Europe

Dr Joanna Michlic, Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, Brandeis University, Boston

Dr Michlic will examine the two major stages in the process of restoration of Holocaust memory in post-communist Europe. She will argue that in order to understand its ongoing dynamics, three key dimensions should be considered: remembering to remember, remembering to benefit, and remembering to forget.

Finding Humanity in a World of Technology

1st May, 2012

Finding Humanity in a World of Technology

Baroness Susan Greenfield CBE, University of Oxford

Since the 21st Century is delivering new technologies that are transforming our environment in unprecedented ways, it follows that the human brain, and thus our minds, could also be undergoing unprecedented changes.

Homelands

17th May, 2012

Homelands

Professor George Steiner, Churchill College, Cambridge

The history of the Jews and of Jewish identity has been characterized by radical inner tensions. These tensions, Professor Steiner suggests, oscillate between priest and prophet, the desert and the city, Zionism and the hopes and ideals of the Diaspora.

Wagner – Antisemitism in Music

22nd May, 2012

Wagner – Antisemitism in Music

Paul Lawrence Rose, Mitrani Professor of Jewish Studies and Professor of European History, The Pennsylvania State University

Professor Rose will explore these arguments, giving special attention to the thorniest problem, that of Wagner’s use of technical musical devices to impregnate his operas with antisemitism.

Ultra-Orthodox Jews, Jewish Antisemitism and the Fate of Western Civilization

13th June, 2012

Ultra-Orthodox Jews, Jewish Antisemitism and the Fate of Western Civilization

Professor Eric Kaufmann, Birkbeck, University of London

Professor Kaufmann will argue that at a time when religion is supposed to be fading in the West, the rise of religious fundamentalist sects challenges many of our assumptions about the inevitability of secularization, the future of progress and the idea of secular liberalism as an ‘End of History’.

Proust Among the Nations – from Dreyfus to the Middle East

19th June, 2012

Proust Among the Nations – from Dreyfus to the Middle East

Professor Jacqueline Rose, Queen Mary, University of London; Professor Bryan Cheyette, University of Reading; Professor David Feldman, Pears Institute for the study of Antisemitism, Birkbeck, University of London; and Dr Ingrid Wassenaar, author of ‘Proustian Passions’. Chair: Dr Anthony Bale, Birkbeck, University of London

The conflict between Israel and Palestine has become one of the most enduring and it seems intractable problems of our time. In her new book, Proust among the Nations, Jacqueline Rose uses psychoanalysis, literature, and politics to reveal the conflict as a distinctly Western problem.

Norman Cohn: A Colloquium

7th July, 2012

Norman Cohn: A Colloquium

Sham Ambiavaga, Frank Chalk, Lorenzo DiTommaso, David Feldman, John Gray, William Lamont, Paul Lay, Dame Jinty Nelson, Sir Michael Pepper, Daniel Pick, Marina Voikhanskaya

This Colloquium will consider the writings, influence and legacy of Norman Cohn FBA. Session One: Pursuit of the Millennium, Session Two: Warrant for Genocide, Session Three: Europe’s Inner Demons and Session Four: Norman Cohn the Man, the Later Work.

Psychoanalysis in the Age of Totalitarianism

21st September, 2012

Psychoanalysis in the Age of Totalitarianism

Sally Alexander, David Armstrong, David Bell, Ronald Britton, José Brunner, Matt Ffytche, John Forrester, Stephen Frosh, Peter Mandler, Knuth Müller, Daniel Pick, Michael Roper, Michael Rustin, Michal Shapira, Lyndsey Stonebridge and Eli Zaretsky

This two day conference brings together historians, social theorists and psychoanalysts to explore the impact of the Second World War and totalitarianism on psychoanalysis; and of psychoanalysis on the understanding of the war and totalitarian systems. 

Defining and Conceptualising Antisemitism

28th September, 2012

Defining and Conceptualising Antisemitism

Jonathan Boyd, Institute for Jewish Policy Research; Sir Terence Etherton, Lord Justice of Appeal; Dr David Hirsh, Goldsmiths, University of London; Dr Paul Iganski, Lancaster University; Antony Lerman, Honorary Fellow, University of Southampton; and Dave Rich, Community Security Trust

In the course of the workshop we intend to explore: the changing and contested definitions of antisemitism in European Union institutions; the concept and definition of hate crime in relation to Jews; the relationship of the law on race relations and religious and racial hatred to the Jews; and how Jewish communal organisations and activist groups define and comprehend antisemitism.

The Witness and the Holocaust – Oral Testimonies and Historical Knowledge

24th October, 2012

The Witness and the Holocaust – Oral Testimonies and Historical Knowledge

Professor Stefanie Schüler-Springorum, Center for Research on Antisemitism, Technical University, Berlin.

Professor Schüler-Springorum explores the role of survivor testimonies in the narrative of the Holocaust. She traces the figure of the survivor “Witness” through almost 70 years, starting with the burning urge to “bear witness” while mass¬-murder was taking place, to the present day, and the ubiquitous presence of the “Witness” in museums, memorial sites and on our television screens.

Constructing the Memory of the Nazi Persecutions in Post-War Western Europe

9th November, 2012

Constructing the Memory of the Nazi Persecutions in Post-War Western Europe

Suzanne Bardgett; Dr Ludivine Broch; Professor David Cesarani; Dr Rebecca Clifford; Emily Fuggle; Professor Robert Gordon; Dr Toby Haggith; Dr Jeremy Hicks; Tina Kelly and Cavaliere Signor Gianfranco Moscati

This seminar has been organised to coincide with Cavaliere Gianfranco Moscati’s visit to London. In 2006, Cavaliere Moscati made the single largest donation to The Holocaust Exhibition at IWM. The Gianfranco Moscati Collection is an extensive private collection of letters and memorabilia which documents the Nazi persecution of Italian Jews during the Second World War.

Does Your Rabbi Know You’re Here? The Story of English Football’s Forgotten Tribe

15th November, 2012

Does Your Rabbi Know You’re Here? The Story of English Football’s Forgotten Tribe

Anthony Clavane, sports writer and author

Anthony Clavane dispels this popular myth to reveal the hidden history of Jewish involvement in English football. He argues that football’s transformation from working-class pursuit into a global industry would not have been possible without such forgotten Jewish figures as Harry Morris, Leslie Goldberg, Louis Bookman and Edward Freedman.

A Small Town near Auschwitz – Ordinary Nazis and the Holocaust

12th December, 2012

A Small Town near Auschwitz – Ordinary Nazis and the Holocaust

Professor Mary Fulbrook, University College London and Professor Jane Caplan, St Antony’s College, University of Oxford and Birkbeck, University of London

Mary Fulbrook and Jane Caplan, discuss Mary Fulbrook’s new book, A Small Town Near Auschwitz – Ordinary Nazis and the Holocaust, exploring the wider historical issues it raises and Fulbrook’s own conflicts of interest, as she uncovered a story behind a family she had known all her life.  

Statement – 3

The Birkbeck Institute for the Study of Antisemitism is a respected source of independent advice and comment on antisemitism, contributing to policy formation and public debate.

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