Past Programs & Events

Nov 14, 2017

SISTERS OF THE RESISTANCE: AMERICAN WOMEN WHO JOINED THE FRENCH RESISTANCE

Alex Kershaw

On 15 August 1944, just ten days before Paris was liberated, three remarkable women, listed as American citizens by the Gestapo, were deported from Paris along with dozens of French men and women belonging to the creme de la creme of the French resistance: Toquette Jackson, wife of American doctor Sumner Jackson; Lucienne Dixon, who had worked at the Elizabeth Arden salon; and Virginia d'Albert-Lake, a 24-year-old from Dayton, Ohio. All three had risked everything to defeat Nazism. All three would help each other survive the unimaginable hell of Hitler's concentration camps as the Third Reich collapsed around them.    
THIS PROGRAM IS CO-SPONSORED BY FRENCH AND FRANCOPHONE STUDIES AND THE DEPARTMENT OF HISTORY


Oct 26, 2017

TAMID KADIMA: ZIONISM IN JEWISH DP CAMPS IN POST-WWII GERMANY

This presentation will examine the role of networks in DP camps and in the clandestine immigration activities to bring thousands of Jews from post-WWII Europe to Israel. Most Jewish displaced persons (DPs) in post-WWII Europe longed to be reunited with family anywhere in the world, but a strong Zionist influence in DP camps contributed to the desire of building a Jewish homeland in Eretz Israel.  The restrictive immigration policies of the British government for Palestine that had been in effect since the 1939 White Paper remained in place after the war. These policies, as well as the forced return of the Exodus 1947 passengers to Germany, caused mass protests in many DP camps and contributed to a temporary decline in morale amongst the Jewish DP population. To alleviate this untenable situation and give hope to the Jewish DPs, the clandestine immigration to Palestine that had existed since before WWII was reinvigorated. The Mossad Aljah Bet, which coordinated most of the clandestine immigration activities before the war, became instrumental in organizing an underground network, the Brichah after the war. The Brichah activists, most of them members of the Zionist youth movement, had quickly established escape routes throughout Europe after the war. Between 150,000 and 200,000 Jews embarked on the risky endeavor of escaping Europe by crossing borders without proper papers, often in the middle of the night, by hiking though mountains in the heat or in the snow, and then boarding ships that crossed the Mediterranean without authorization.

 
Uta Larkey is Associate Professor at Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland. Her research and scholarship in Holocaust Studies has earned her several prestigious fellowships and culminated in publications. As a Scholar-in-Residence at the Hadassah Brandeis Institute, she contributed to the project entitled Families, Children and the Holocaust. Her book chapter related to this is included in the edited volume Jewish Families in Europe 1939-Present (2017). She was a Fellow-in-Residence at the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at USHMM, working on her research project Narrating Horror: Language and Identity in Early Postwar German-Language Interviews and Testimonies. Uta Larkey’s co-authored book Life and Loss in the Shadow of the Holocaust: A Jewish Family's Untold Story (2011) was translated into Portuguese and published in Brazil. 


Oct 18, 2017

Freud on the Acropolis

The lecture offers a reading of Freud's famous description of his 1904 visit to the Acropolis with the aim of showing how his notion of the unconscious was entangled with his complicated relationship with antiquity. "A Disturbance of Memory on the Acropolis" written in 1936 provides a specimen of self analysis in which Freud's relationship with antiquity is examined as inseparable from his relationship with his father. Freud's imaginative encounter with his dead father on the Acropolis reveals how the "language of the unconscious" can teach us about the intrinsic relationship between the past and the present, between antiquity and modernity.

Vered Lev Kenaan teaches Hebrew and Comparative Literature at the University of Haifa. She is the author of Pandora's Senses: The Feminine Character of the Ancient Text (Wisconsin University Press, 2008).


Oct 17, 2017

THINKING THROUGH NATIONALISM AND MYSTICISM: THE TANGLED INTELLECTUAL BIOGRAPHIES OF GERSHOM SCHOLEM AND HANS KOHN

At a time when Gershom Scholem established the academic study of Jewish mysticism, Hans Kohn pioneered the academic study of nationalism.  The biographies of these intellectual giants intersected in central Europe as Zionists, and later in the Zionist Yishuv, as vocal advocats of binationalism.  Though the failed binationalist attempt led them to diametrically opposed paths, it arguably framed their respective intellectual careers.  
 
The event brings together the authors of two brand new intellectual biographies.  Amir Engel (Hebrew University, Jerusalem) and author of Gershom Scholem: An Intellectual Biography and Adi Gordon (Amherst College), author of Toward Nationalism's End: An Intellectual Biography of Hans Kohn.
 
 

Oct 5, 2017

ETHNIC CLEANSING, CLASS CLEANSING: FROM HANNAH ARENDT TO VICTOR ZASLAVSKY

NOTE:  THIS PRESENTATION WILL TAKE PLACE IN HERTER HALL 601, NOT AT THE INSTITUTE FOR HOLOCAUST, GENOCIDE, AND MEMORY STUDIES.

This talk introduces Victor Zaslavsky’s little-known theory of totalitarianism. It approaches the task by considering the ways in which his theory accords with and diverges from that of Hannah Arendt’s.  Arendt is the most influential theorist of totalitarianism against whom all successors must be measured. Zaslavsky's book on the Katyn massacre was awarded the Hannah Arendt Prize for Political Thought in 2008. Superficially, the Jewish Russian-born author and political sociologist seems only to enlarge on Arendt’s core argument about the nature of Bolshevism and National Socialism. Yet a closer reading of his work on the Soviet Union and the lands it dominated shows significant and original deviations from Arendt’s arguments. Not only does Zaslavsky extend Arendt’s argument on ethnic cleansing to class cleansing. He also challenges her theory of totalitarian longevity. Whereas Arendt considered totalitarianism in the Soviet Union to have expired with the death of Stalin in 1953, Zaslavsky thought otherwise: totalitarianism persisted but in the new “system maintenance” form, embodied foremost in the Brezhnev era. Objections to Zaslavsky’s arguments are considered and evaluated.

Visiting Scholar: Peter Baehr is Professor of Social Theory, Lingan University, Hong Kong. His many books include Hannah Arendt, Totalitarianism, and the Social Sciences (Stanford University Press, 2010) and Dictatorship in History and Theory (with Melvin Richter, Cambridge University, 2004).

 


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