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Centre for the Study of Jewish Culture, Society and Politics

News and Events

NEWS

The Home Affairs Committee has published their report into Antisemitism in the UK. Dr Ilan Zvi Baron, Dr Yulia Egorova, and Dr Keith Kahn-Harris all submitted written evidence to the inquiry. The final report can be found on the Home Affairs Committee website

Dr Ilan Zvi Baron was recently interviewed about his book, Obligation in Exile: The Jewish Diaspora, Israel and Critique, by Jason Schulman of the Podcast, "New Books in Jewish Studies." Listen to the interview here.

Dr Yulia Egorova recently delivered the Sherman Community Lecture at the Manchester Jewish Museum. The topic of her talk was Jewish-Muslim Relations in the UK and the press release of the event is available here.


Forthcoming Events


Launch of Life after Ruin: The Struggles over Israel's Depopulated Arab Spaces

The Centre for the Study of Jewish Culture, Society and Politics is warmly inviting you to join us for the launch of Life after Ruin: The Struggles over Israel's Depopulated Arab Spaces (Cambridge UP) by Noam Leshem, on 13 June, 16:00-18:00, room W007 (Geography).

The event will be followed by a wine reception.

Speakers: Dr Noam Leshem (Durham University); Professor Haim Yacobi (Woolf Institute, Cambridge & Ben Gurion University); Professor Colin McFarlane (Durham University).

Chair: Dr Ilan Baron (Durham University)

About the book:
Following the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, the landscape of Israel-Palestine was radically transformed. Breaking from conventional focus on explicit sites of violence and devastation, Noam Leshem turns critical attention to ordinary spaces and places where the intricate and often intimate engagements between Jews and myriad Arab spaces take place to this day. Leshem builds on interdisciplinary studies of space, memory, architecture and history and exposes a rich archive of ideology, culture, political projects of state-building and identity formation. The result is a fresh look at the conflicted history of Israel-Palestine: a spatial history in which the Arab past isn't in fact separate, but inextricably linked to the Israeli present.



Past Events


The Eruv as Metaphor for Jewish Home-making in the Diaspora

Speaker: Professor Leora Asulander

Date: Tuesday 28th February

Time: 16:00 - 17:15 (followed by refreshments)

Venue: Institute of Advanced Study, Cosin's Hall Seminar Room

Abstract: When observant Jews leave their homes on the Sabbath, their hands (and pockets) must be empty. This interpretation of the mandate that the seventh day should be devoted to rest obviously poses challenges; among the most basic are that babies, medicine, and books cannot be carried. One response has been to extend the boundaries of “home” to include whole neighborhoods through the construction of an Eruv. Most often delimited by a single wire, supported by found objects – street signs, buildings, trees – high above eye level, they are visible only to those who seek to see them. For those who do know that they are there, however, the Eruv domesticates public space, and makes it, for the period of the Sabbath, Jewish. This talk will demonstrate how Jews, secular and religious, created metaphorical Eruvs – Jewish space and time within the secular -- in the cities in which they were at home. Using the cases of Germany, I will argue further that conceptualizing Jewish relationships to Germanness and Frenchness through the Eruv enables us to think in a new way about the very old questions, of assimiliation and acculturation and what it meant, and means, for Jews to be at home, politically, socially, and materially.
The event is free and open to all. Please spread the word in your departments and colleges!


Yoav Peled and Horit Herman Peled

The Religionization of Israeli Society

This talk presents an examination of the growing saliency of religious personalities, religious themes, and the religious outlook in Jewish Israeli society, in order to test the argument that Israeli society is undergoing a process of religionization, as well as the counter-argument, that secular-religious relations among Jews in Israel went into crisis in the 1980s and that the society had actually secularized, in one way or another, during the 1990s. We seek to explain the causes and significance of these two processes and the seeming contradiction between them, as well as the variance in the trajectory of religionization as between different historical periods.

Venue: Lindisfarne Centre, St Aidan's College

Date: Monday 28 November

Time: 5 pm - 7 pm

Professor Marianne Hirsch, Leslie Brooks lecture, Durham University

Thursday, March 17, 2016

The School of Modern Languages & Cultures at Durham University are delighted to announce that Professor Marianne Hirsch, William Peterfield Trent Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, will be giving the annual Leslie Brooks lecture. Her talk, entitled “Small Acts: Mobilizing Memory Across Borders”, will take place at 17.00 on Thursday, March 17 in The Arnold Wolfendale Lecture Theatre (Calman Learning Centre):

How can the memory of violent pasts be mobilized for a more progressive and hopeful future? This talk responds to the renewed monumentality we find in memory museums, memorials and commemorative rituals that perpetuate nationalism and ethnocentrism. Connecting the memory of the Holocaust with that of other histories of political violence, the talk searches for mobile and mutable artistic practices that can effect little resistances and small acts of repair.

The lecture will be followed by a drinks reception in the Derman Christopherson Room in the Calman Learning Centre. This event is free and open to all.

For further enquiries please contact zoe.roth@durham.ac.uk.

How did Racism and Anti-Semitism become Mental Illnesses

Professor Sander Gilman (Emory University)

Date: Monday, March 14, 2016

Time: 17:00

Location: Lindisfarne Centre, St. Aidan's College

The Centre for the Study of Jewish Culture, Society and Politics is warmly inviting you to the book launch of Professor Lucille Cairns's new monograph Francophone Jewish Writers Imagining Israel.

The book launch will take place on Thursday 21 January, from 5 pm to 6.30 pm in the Williams Library of St Chad's College (18 North Bailey, Durham DH1 3RH).

This book considers the differing emotional investments in Israel of, on the one hand, Jews physically domiciled in Israel and, on the other hand, diasporic Jews living outside Israel for whom the country nonetheless forms a central point of affect. The book’s purpose is to trace how these two types of investment are represented by francophone Jewish writers. Israel is at once a problematic geopolitical reality in international politics and a salient topos within Jewish cultural imaginaries that transcend national boundaries. However, it has often been claimed that Israel has a “special” relationship with France, which until 1967 was its greatest ally. Israel has a large francophone community (some 800,000), while France has the largest Jewish community in Europe (some 600,000). But Franco-Israeli relations have undergone radical, largely negative transformations under the Fifth Republic (1958- ). The scope of the book is wide, addressing the following questions. How do francophone Jewish writers represent Israel in their literary works? What responses to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict do they express both in these works and in non-literary discourse (interviews and journalistic articles)? What is the role in those responses of emotion, affect, cognition, and ethics? To answer these questions, the book examines 44 different autobiographies, memoirs and novels published between 1965 and 2012 by 27 different authors, both male and female, covering the full cultural spectrum of Jews: Ashkenazic, Sephardic, and Mizrahi. The approach of the book is interdisciplinary, combining literary analysis with insights from the domains of history, journalism, philosophy, politics, psychoanalysis, and sociology.

The event is free and all are welcome!

Yoav Peled and Horit Herman Peled
The Religionization of Israeli Society

This talk presents an examination of the growing saliency of religious personalities, religious themes, and the religious outlook in Jewish Israeli society, in order to test the argument that Israeli society is undergoing a process of religionization, as well as the counter-argument, that secular-religious relations among Jews in Israel went into crisis in the 1980s and that the society had actually secularized, in one way or another, during the 1990s. We seek to explain the causes and significance of these two processes and the seeming contradiction between them, as well as the variance in the trajectory of religionization as between different historical periods.

Venue: Lindisfarne Centre, St Aidan's College
Date: Monday 28 November
Time: 5 pm – 6.30 pm

Centre for the Study of Jewish Culture, Society and Politics Inaugural Symposium

12 October 2015, Lindisfarne Centre, St Aidan’s College

1.00 pm – 2.00 pm – lunch

2.00 pm – 3.30 pm – session 1:

Brian Klug (Oxford)- Ahad Ha'am and the Jewish Future

Zoe Roth (MLAC) – “You can change your noses, but you can’t change your Moses”: Race, Nation, and Jewishness in the French Avant-Garde

Mark Sandy (English) - Reading Patterns of Romanticism in Saul Bellow and Philip Roth

3.30 pm – 4.00 pm – coffee break

4.00 pm – 5.00 pm – session 2:

Michael Mack (English) - Ageing and Modern Jewish Writing and Thought

Barbara Borts (Anthropology/Theology) – Beit Shirah: Atheists and Song in Contemporary Progressive Jewish Services

5.30 pm – 7.00 pm – keynote speech by Diana Pinto - Beyond the Holocaust: New Jewish Memories for the Twenty-First Century Europe.

7.00 pm – 8.00 pm – drinks reception

The event is free and all are welcome, but please contact Yulia.egorova@durham.ac.uk, if you will be joining us for lunch.

Wednesday 29 April, 2 pm to 4 pm – talk by Ruth Barnett

You are invited to a talk by Ruth Barnett, the author of Love, Hate and Indifference: the Slide into Genocide, Jews and Gypsies: Myths and Reality, and A Child of No Nationality: A Story of Childhood Separation, Loss and Recovery.

Ruth will talk about her experiences of being part of Kindertransport and will show a DVD about the Roma part of the Holocaust. The event will take place on Wednesday 29 April, from 2 pm to 3 pm in the Chapel of St Chad's College, followed by a tea reception in the Senior Common Room from 3 pm to 4 pm. You will have a chance to talk to the author and buy copies of her books.

Tuesday 28 April, 6 pm to 8 pm – book launch

You are invited to the book launch of Ilan Zvi Baron's new monograph Obligation in Exile: The Jewish Diaspora, Israel and Critique, which explores complex relationship between Israel and the Diaspora Jewish Identity. Combining political theory and sociological interviews spanning four countries, Ilan Zvi Baron explores the Jewish Diaspora/Israel relationship and suggests that instead of looking at Diaspora Jews’ relationship with Israel as a matter of loyalty, it is one of obligation. Baron develops an outline for a theory of transnational political obligation and, in the process, provides an alternative way to understand and explore the Diaspora/Israel relationship than one mired in partisan debates about whether or not being a good Jew means supporting Israel. He concludes by arguing that critique of Israel is not just about Israeli policy, but about what it means to be a Diaspora Jew.

The event will take place on Tuesday 28 April at the Lindisfarne Centre of St Aidan's College from 6 pm to 7 pm and will be followed by a drinks reception.

The event will start with a panel on the relationship between Israel and the Jewish Diaspora including Ilan Baron, sociologist Keith Kahn-Harris and philosopher Brian Klug, and will be followed by a Q&A session.

Israeli Policy and the Palestinian Refugee Question, 1949-1967

January 21, 2015: St Aidan’s College, Shincliffe Room 1:00-2:30

Ronald Zweig, Professor of Hebrew and Judaic Studies; Marilyn and Henry Taub Professor of Israel Studies; Director of the Taub Center for Israel Studies (NYU)

Contact Ilan Baron ilan.baron@durham.ac.uk for further information