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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.

‘Warrant for Genocide’? Hitler, the Holocaust and the ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion’

4th February, 2019

‘Warrant for Genocide’? Hitler, the Holocaust and the ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion’

Professor Richard Evans, Birkbeck, University of London

Professor Evans takes a fresh look at the Protocols. He asks whether either the contents of the document or the evidence of Hitler’s speeches and writings justify these claims, and examines the light they throw on the origins and nature of Nazi antisemitism.

Modernity and Jewish Experience: On Zygmunt Bauman’s Sociology of the Jewish Question

12th February, 2019

Modernity and Jewish Experience: On Zygmunt Bauman’s Sociology of the Jewish Question

Ben Gidley, Birkbeck University of London

This paper discusses one of the most profound sociologists of modernity, the late Zygmunt Bauman, for whom the Jewish question played a key but not always explicit role. It draws out Bauman’s contribution to understanding these questions, but also some of his work’s limitations.

Placeless People: The Calamity of Statelessness

18th February, 2019

Placeless People: The Calamity of Statelessness

Professor Les Back, Goldsmiths, University of London; Professor Lyndsey Stonebridge, University of Birmingham; Mr Daniel Trilling, Journalist

The panel discussion explores how exiles from other places – refugees and people seeking asylum – have called into question ideas about sovereignty, law and nationhood, and asks how we should reckon with this challenge as we think about the present.

Un/settled Relations? India, Minorities and the Tropes of Jewish-Muslim Difference

26th February, 2019

Un/settled Relations? India, Minorities and the Tropes of Jewish-Muslim Difference

Yulia Egorova, Durham University

Yulia Egorova talks about her monograph Jews and Muslims in South Asia: Reflections on Difference, Religion and Race, which puts the growing literature on Jewish-Muslim relations in dialogue with academic interventions interrogating anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and their overlapping histories.

Excavating Philip Roth:  On Beginning a Biographical Study

11th March, 2019

Excavating Philip Roth: On Beginning a Biographical Study

Steven Zipperstein, Stanford University

Steven J. Zipperstein draws on many conversations with Philip Roth over the course of the last several years. He shares some preliminary insights in a talk designed as meditation on a project still in its infancy.

Jews, Money, Myth

19th March, 2019

Jews, Money, Myth

Jews, Money, Myth, a major exhibition at Jewish Museum London, explores the role of money in Jewish life and its vexed place in relations between Jews and non-Jews, from the time of Jesus to the 21st century. It examines the origins of some of the longest running and deeply entrenched antisemitic stereotypes.

German Reparations and the Impact of Post War Jewish Politics

21st March, 2019

German Reparations and the Impact of Post War Jewish Politics

Professor Ron Zweig, New York University

In this lecture, Professor Zweig explores the difficult and controversial decisions that Jewish leaders and officeholders in Israel and the diaspora had to make before it was possible to even begin the pursuit of economic justice.

The Merchant of Venice

24th March, 2019

The Merchant of Venice

Professor Emma Smith, University of Oxford; Professor Filippo De Vivo, Birkbeck, University of London

Performances of The Merchant of Venice provoke strong emotions and heated debates on some of the most fraught questions in Jewish-Christian relations. Join us to watch the acclaimed 2004 cinematic adaptation of the play, directed by Michael Radford and for the panel discussion that follows.

Shidduchim – Deals Made in Heaven:  Romance, Politics and Economics

1st April, 2019

Shidduchim – Deals Made in Heaven: Romance, Politics and Economics

Professor Mirjam Zadoff, Munich Documentation Centre for the History of National Socialism

In this lecture Professor Zadoff asks ‘in what ways have these historical experiences influenced Jewish life throughout modernity and up until today?’

Antisemitism: Definition Matters

2nd April, 2019

Antisemitism: Definition Matters

Cynthia Baker, Bates College; Manuela Consonni, Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Brian Klug, St Benet’s Hall, University of Oxford; AbdoolKarim Vakil, King’s College London; Juliane Wetzel, Technical University, Berlin; Bashir Bashir, Open University, Israel; Colin Shindler, SOAS University of London

Attempts to define antisemitism are often accompanied by disputes and controversy, bringing to the surface broader political, scholarly and theoretical differences. This workshop seeks to explore these disagreements.

The City Without Jews

14th April, 2019

The City Without Jews

Professor Erica Carter, King’s College London; Dr Marc Volovici, Pears Institute for the study of Antisemitism, Birkbeck, University of London

Based on the novel of the same title by Jewish writer Hugo Bettauer, this silent film, premiered in 1924, satirises the rising antisemitism in Austrian society in the wake of the First World War. The film ridicules the hollow promises of nationalist utopias and the pernicious nature of antisemitic demagoguery.

Fiddler on the Roof

19th May, 2019

Fiddler on the Roof

Professor Helen Beer, University College London; Dr Devorah Baum, University of Southampton

This critically acclaimed  musical (Norman Jewison, 1971) is based on stories written by the canonical Yiddish writer Sholem Aleichem. With wit and exuberence, Fiddler on the Roof, remembered most for the song ‘If I were a rich man’, captures an imagined world of the shtetl.

Jews, Money, Myth – Round Table

20th May, 2019

Jews, Money, Myth – Round Table

Professor Anthony Bale, Birkbeck University of London; Ms Joanne Rosenthal, Curator for Jews, Money Myth; Dr Marc Volovici, Pears Institute for the study of Antisemitism

How can museums best confront the stereotypes that feed antisemitism?  Join our panel to explore the challenges of exhibiting difficult histories and shaping the stories objects tell.

From Amsterdam to Istanbul: Fundraising and Jewish Refugee Relief in the Seventeenth Century

This lecture examines the ways in which Jews across Europe and Asia co-operated in helping the tens of thousands of their co-religionists displaced by the mid-seventeenth century wars in eastern Europe.  A broad economic network coalesced which took money raised in communities as far distant as Amsterdam and channelled it to where it was needed most.

Performativity of Images in Public Spaces – Workshop

11th June, 2019

Performativity of Images in Public Spaces – Workshop

Ruth Beckermann, Filmmaker; Maiken Umbach, University of Nottingham; Lisa Peschel, University of York

This workshop brings together scholars, artists, museum professionals and the public to reflect on the challenges and power of presenting difficult and unsettling archival images in the public realm. What is the impact of using images which depict discrimination, racial hatred or genocidal violence?

The Waldheim Waltz

11th June, 2019

The Waldheim Waltz

Ruth Beckermann in conversation with Laura Mulvey

Ruth Beckermann documents the process of uncovering former UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim’s wartime past. Created from international archive material and footage Beckermann shot at the time, the film analyses the collapse of the Austrian grand illusion: “having been the first victim of the Nazis”. 

Jews, Money, Myth: International Workshop

17th June, 2019

Jews, Money, Myth: International Workshop

Dr Christine Achinger, University of Warwick; Professor Bernard Cooperman, University of Maryland; Professor Jonathan Karp, SUNY, Binghamton

Associations between Jews and money have informed the history of Jewish men and women for millennia and have also given rise to some of the most deeply entrenched Jewish stereotypes. In this workshop we aim to explore the connections – real and imagined – between Jews and money.

On the Road: Jewish Peddling and the Shaping of Jewish History

17th June, 2019

On the Road: Jewish Peddling and the Shaping of Jewish History

Professor Hasia Diner, New York University

In the long history of Jews and business, few phenomena have been more formative than Jewish peddling. In this lecture Hasia Diner explores the contours of this history. She reveals how the practice of peddling changed over centuries, and what its impact has been on the great Jewish migrations out of Europe.

Jewish Money and the Image of the Jewish Body in the Middle Ages

3rd July, 2019

Jewish Money and the Image of the Jewish Body in the Middle Ages

Professor Sara Lipton, State University of New York at Stony Brook

Through such vivid literary characters as Shylock, Fagin, and the notorious Jud Süß, the stereotype of the swarthy, hook-nosed, grasping Jewish moneylender has become a staple of western antisemitic discourse. In this talk Professor Lipton traces the slowly evolving image of Jews in medieval art, depicted first as worldly and materialistic, and, ultimately, dangerous and demonic.

Psychoanalysis as Decolonial Judaism

29th October, 2019

Psychoanalysis as Decolonial Judaism

Stephen Frosh, Birkbeck, University of London

In some recent work on decolonization, there has been an attempt to claim some Jewish writers of the twentieth century as participating in a rethinking of ‘barbarism’ that aligns Jewish thought with the decolonial movement. This seminar offers an account of Jewish barbaric possibilities and suggests ways in which psychoanalysis might connect with them.

The Oberammergau Passion Play: Actors, Audiences and Antisemitism c. 1860-1910

4th November, 2019

The Oberammergau Passion Play: Actors, Audiences and Antisemitism c. 1860-1910

Dr Robert Priest, Royal Holloway, University of London

The Passion Play at Oberammergau, Germany is one of the world’s longest running dramatic performances. Returning to the decades when Oberammergau first rose to global fame, Dr Priest will ask to what extent the play’s negative portrayal of the Jews was an innovation and a product of its modernisation, rather than tradition.

From Realistic Conflict to Relative Deprivation: Rethinking the Psychology of Antisemitism

The paper sets out to trace the recent critique of ‘realistic conflict theory’ as it pertains to antisemitism studies. It will provide an overview of the arguments comprising the debate; outline the way in which these arguments depend on specific psychological notions; and, finally, proffer an alternative approach.

Professor David Feldman, Director – 2

In an age of populism and nationalism it is more important than ever to understand the connections between antisemitism and other forms of racialization.

Professor David Feldman, Director

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