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

ACTIVITY

What's On

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.

Holding on Through Letters: Jewish Families During the Holocaust

Public Event | Online

2nd February, 2021

Holding on Through Letters: Jewish Families During the Holocaust

Professor Debórah Dwork, The City University of New York

Jewish families in Nazi Europe tried to hold onto each other through letters. But wartime conditions applied. Letters were censored, and could not be sent between countries at war with each other. How to keep in contact? And, once contact was established, what to say — and about what to remain silent?

When and Why Did Self-Determination Become a Right for All Nations? Jews, Arabs, and the Marxist World Revolution

Webinar | For Scholars

16th February, 2021

When and Why Did Self-Determination Become a Right for All Nations? Jews, Arabs, and the Marxist World Revolution

Professor James Renton, Edge Hill University

When did national self-determination become the conventional means to rectify the grievances of oppressed peoples? This transformation took place in the latter years of the Great War and had a momentous impact on the global political ideas of a post-Ottoman ‘Middle East’, the nationalist Jew, and the nationalist Arab. It was, James Renton will argue, a victory for the political thought of the Second International and its most significant legacy.

Intersectionality and its Discontents: Why Antisemitism Matters

9th March, 2021

Intersectionality and its Discontents: Why Antisemitism Matters

Professor Karin Stögner, University of Passau, Germany

Intersectionality is a methodological approach in the social sciences that investigates the multidimensionality of power relations. Why does this framework routinely exclude antisemitism?

Jews, Liberalism, Antisemitism

Public Event | Online

29th April, 2021

Jews, Liberalism, Antisemitism

Professor Abigail Green, University of Oxford; Professor Simon Levis Sullam, Università Ca' Foscari Venezia; Professor Jessica Marglin, University of Southern California; Professor Derek Penslar, Harvard University

This panel discussion explores how liberalism, citizenship, nationality, religion, race and gender functioned and interacted differently in European Jewish heartlands, in the Mediterranean peripheries of Spain and the Ottoman empire, and in the North American Atlantic world.

Jews, the Reformation and Making Europe
Rembrandt Belsazar

17th May, 2021

Jews, the Reformation and Making Europe

Dr Kenneth Austin, University of Bristol; Professor Anthony Bale, Birkbeck University of London; Professor Helen Parish, University of Reading.

The Reformation marked a hugely significant turning point in Europe’s history. Taking Kenneth Austin’s path-breaking study, ‘The Jews and the Reformation’ (Yale University Press, 2020) as its starting point, this event, part of Birkbeck Arts Week, explores the place and significance of Jews in the Reformation, as well as the impact of the Reformation on Europe’s Jews.

Mobilising Memory through Mixed Reality

Workshop | Online

19th May, 2021

Mobilising Memory through Mixed Reality

Dr Victoria Walden, University of Sussex; Dr Grant Bollmer, North Carolina State University; Dr Kate Nash University of Leeds; Kate Marrison, Research student, University of Leeds 

This workshop invites experts in the field to discuss the potential and limitations of mixed reality, immersive technologies for mediating difficult subject matter, such as the Holocaust, violent conflicts, humanitarian crises, forced migration, asylum seekers, racism and incarceration. 

Sexual Fantasy in Antisemitism

25th May, 2021

Sexual Fantasy in Antisemitism

Aidan Beatty, University of Pittsburgh

Antisemitism often mixes a sexualized horror regarding Jews with a specific kind of sexual titillation. Drawing on both Critical Race Theory and Porn Studies, this paper examines what these disciplines can add to the study of antisemitism, and places antisemitism within the larger history of race, gender, and sexuality. 

Staging Difficult Histories through Immersive Technologies
Nicole Stenger, Creative Commons

Workshop | Online

7th June, 2021

Staging Difficult Histories through Immersive Technologies

Various Speakers

Staging Difficult Histories through Immersive Technologies invites experts in the field to showcase their research on new, immersive technologies, and identify specific concerns relating to the ethics of engagement with difficult subject matter and human experience such as persecution, discrimination, racism, and violence. 

New Histories of Racialization and Resistance – a Conversation

7th June, 2021

New Histories of Racialization and Resistance – a Conversation

Professor Jacob Dlamini, Princeton University; Dr Sadia Qureshi, University of Birmingham; Dr Kristy Warren, University of Leicester.

How we memorialise and study the past is being questioned today in new ways. The global reverberations of the Black Lives Matter protests of the summer of 2020 and the growing demands to ‘decolonise’ knowledge from within and without higher education challenges anyone who seeks to engage with a contentious present and troubling past.

Unindicted Co-Conspirators: White Jews on the Periphery of Black Power
Verso

Webinar | For Scholars

8th July, 2021

Unindicted Co-Conspirators: White Jews on the Periphery of Black Power

April Rosenblum

Jewish activists were a conspicuous presence in the U.S. New Left of the 1960s. This paper looks at one subset – Jews who built their lives in intimate connection to Black liberation and anti-colonial resistance movements. For these white Jews, support for these movements was both a necessary act of solidarity and a personal expression of the search for a political and cultural home.

Unfinished Business: Antisemitism, Racial Capitalism, and the Long Age of Empire

Webinar | For Scholars

15th October, 2021

Unfinished Business: Antisemitism, Racial Capitalism, and the Long Age of Empire

Dorian Bell, University of California, Santa Cruz

The historical relationship between antisemitism and Orientalism is usually understood according to their overlapping representations of Jews and Muslims. In this talk, Dorian Bell will begin by asking whether nineteenth­ century French antisemitism and Orientalism might also be considered from the standpoint of a functional continuity.

Competing Modes of Anti-Racism in Britain since the 1960s
Neil Kenlock, Black Panther Demonstration, London, 1970s

Webinar | For Scholars

19th October, 2021

Competing Modes of Anti-Racism in Britain since the 1960s

Joseph Finlay, University of Southampton

‘Antisemitism’ and ‘Racism’ are highly contested terms today, with little consensus on their definitions, and even less on how they may or not relate to each other. This talk will argue that there have been two distinct modes of anti-racism in Britain since the 1960s with their roots in the creation of the first Race Relations Act in 1965.

Heroes? Nations, Memory and the Jews

Public Event | Online

2nd November, 2021

Heroes? Nations, Memory and the Jews

Dr Ludivine Broch, University of Westminster; Dr Michael Carter-Sinclair, King's College London; Dr Victoria Khiterer, Millersville University; Professor Elizabeth Tingle, De Montfort University.

Memory is a vital component of national identity. But when it comes to Jews, national histories are mixed. In many cases, when nations have forged their identity, they have drawn the boundaries of their community in ways that exclude Jews.

The Civic Gospel and Images of Islam: Race, Religion and Difference on Display at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, c.1885
Presented by the Right Honourable Joseph Chamberlain, 1885.

Webinar | For Scholars

12th November, 2021

The Civic Gospel and Images of Islam: Race, Religion and Difference on Display at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, c.1885

Kate Nichols, University of Birmingham

William Müller’s 1843 Prayers in the Desert is widely referred to as the first British painting to show Muslims at prayer, and it was undoubtedly one of the earliest to do so. Kate Nichols will explore what Prayers in the Desert might tell us about Victorian understandings of Islam, and how the display of this painting created dialogues about race, religion and difference in the supposedly secular context of the museum.

Of Fear and Strangers: A History of Xenophobia

Public Event | Online

15th November, 2021

Of Fear and Strangers: A History of Xenophobia

Professor George Makari, Weill-Cornell Medical College and Professor Stephen Frosh, Birkbeck, University of London

Over the last few years, it has been impossible to ignore the steady resurgence of xenophobia. The European migrant crisis and immigration from Central America to the United States have placed Western advocates of globalization on the defensive, and a ‘New Xenophobia’ seems to have emerged out of nowhere.

Next Event
Antisemitism in American History: Reflections and Ways Forward

Webinar | For Scholars - Change of Date

8th December, 2021

Antisemitism in American History: Reflections and Ways Forward

Britt Tevis

In the last several years, episodes of anti-Jewish violence in the United States have prompted scholars to rethink traditional models for understanding anti-Jewish bigotry, discrimination, and violence in the country. In this seminar, Britt Tevis will address the intellectual history of how scholars have traditionally conceptualized antisemitism in the U.S. and offer alternative frameworks.

Statement – 1

The founding principle of the Institute is that the study of antisemitism is vital to understanding racialization, racism and religious intolerance.

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