Past Programs & Events

Nov 1, 2016

Last Yiddish Heroes: Lost and Found Songs of Soviet Jews during World War II

THIS PROGRAM IS SOLD OUT. TICKETS ARE NO LONGER AVAILABLE.  

 
During and just after World War II, folklorist Moshe Beregovsky and the Kiev Cabinet for Jewish Culture collected original Yiddish songs written by Soviet Jews. But in 1949, the Soviet government confiscated and hid away the songs. In this all-new concert and lecture program, singer-songwriter Psoy Korolenko and historian Anna Shternshis bring these lost Yiddish songs to life and share the incredible stories behind these treasures.
 
PSOY KOROLENKO AND ANNA SHTERNSHIS
 
 

Pavel Lion, a.k.a. Psoy Korolenko, is one of Russia’s most popular – and clever – songwriters, as well as a pre-eminent Yiddish singer. He is a Moscow based singer/songwriter, translator, scholar and journalist. Self-referred to as a ''wandering scholar'' and an ''avant-bard'', he is know for his multilingual one-person cabaret-esque shows, which balance folk and klezmer music, free-style poetry and intellectual comedy. Psoy writes and sings in English, Russian, Yiddish, and French. On stage since 2000, he has published one book of selected essays and song lyrics ''The Hit Of The Century'', and 14 CDs – some of them in collaboration with active Jewish and Klezmer musicians ("Opa!", Daniel Kahn, Igor Krutogolov, "Oy Division").  Psoy is a member of the organizing committee for a Russian American music festival JetLAG, a guest of many klezmer music festivals, and an ex-artist in residence at the Trinity College (Hartford), University of Michigan (Ann Arbor), Dickinson College (Carlisle, PA). An author of insightful and sophisticated Russian sung poetry, Psoy is also known for his keen and explorative vision of the art of translation, “tradaptation” and what he calls Spell-Art (i.e. playing with foreign text, emphasizing linguistic distances, multilingual songs etc).

Anna Shternshis holds the position of Al and Malka Green Associate Professor of Yiddish studies at the University of Toronto. She is also the Director of the Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies at the University of Toronto. She received her doctoral degree (D.Phil) in Modern Languages and Literatures from Oxford University in 2001.  Shternshis is the author of Soviet and Kosher: Jewish Popular Culture in the Soviet Union, 1923 - 1939 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2006). Her second book entitled When Sonia Met Boris: Jewish Daily Life in Soviet Russia is forthcoming from Oxford University Press in 2017. She is currently working on the book-length study of evacuation and escape of Soviet Jews during World War II. She is the author of twenty articles on topics of Russian Jewish culture and post-Soviet Jewish diaspora. Shternshis is a co-editor-in-chief of East European Jewish Affairs.

 
 

Oct 5, 2016

The Making of the Secular Witness: From David Rousset to the "Survivor"

This talk will explore one chapter in the history of a particular concept of humanity forged in suffering and survival, symbolized by the secular witness.  It discusses the defamation trial of French writer David Rousset (author of "The Concentrationary Universe," or "L'Univers concentrationnaire), which became shorthand for camp life in the decade after the Second World War.  It addresses how he used the trial to generate a victim-centered testimonial practice only fully developed after the Eichmann trial.  The paper will summarize the features and history of the survivor icon conceived as part of the historical development of contemporary moral culture.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER

Carolyn J. Dean is Charles J. Stille Professor of History and French at Yale University and the author of five books, most recently Aversion and Erasure: The Fate of the Victim after the Holocaust (Cornell, 2010).


Sep 21, 2016

Defined Out of Existence: The U.S. Government's Continuing Attempt to Remove and Replace American Indians

From first contact, those who arrived in what is now known as the United States have used diverse methods to decrease the number of peoples indigenous to the land. First, physical elimination via war and smallpox was the most expedient method. After the formation of the U.S. government, federal policies were enacted to eliminate American Indians using more politically correct means. The policies varied in name and effectiveness and included removal, relocation, assimilation, reservations, and more. Today's policy era is known as Self-Determination, but in reality entails the U.S. government’s determination of the definitions of "Indian" and "tribe." This is the modern, most politically correct means of decreasing the number of Indigenous peoples who remain on this land. Sadly, it has been quite effective; it reminds us that nothing has changed since 1492 and that the desire to remove and replace American Indians from this land still persists.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER

Kathleen Brown-Perez is a Senior Lecturer in the Honors College at UMass Amherst. Among other courses, she teaches federal Indian law and policy as well as Criminal Law, which includes a section on criminal jurisdiction in Indian Country. Kathleen is a graduate of the University of Iowa, having received her MBA and JD there. She joined the faculty in Commonwealth Honors College after working as a corporate lawyer in Boston. She now limits her practice to federal Indian law, providing consultation services to law firms suing the U.S. government on behalf of tribes. Kathleen is an enrolled member of the Eeyam Quittoowauconuck (Brothertown Indian Nation, Wisconsin). Her publications include books and articles on federal Indian law, administrative law, and labor/employment law. In addition to writing, she has extensive editing experience, having served on the inaugural editorial board of the Native American and Indigenous Studies journal.

 


Jul 29, 2016

New England Holocaust Educators Network Satellite Seminar

Please e-mail lcurtis@complit.umass.edu for more information.  


Mar 21, 2016

How Jewish Authors Reinvented the American War Novel

Although Jews were only 3.5 percent of the American population in the 1950s, in their war literature they created the template through which Americans saw World War II.  For instance, nearly all of the bestselling American war novels between 1948 and 1961 were by or about Jewish soldiers. In Jewish authored works, members of this statistically marginal population therefore became the principle figures through which the story of World War II was told. Yet the central role of Jews in fictionalizing War World II for a postwar readership has gone unnoticed in literary and historical studies. Either the Jewishness of the writers is uncommented on, or, the Jewishness of the text is negated. This factor is central, because as I will discuss, Jewish authors wrote about the war in very unique ways, and since their novels were bestsellers, they had a direct impact upon how postwar Americans understood the war effort. Revisiting best-selling works ranging from Norman Mailer’s The Naked and the Dead to Joseph Heller’s Catch-22, and uncovering a range of unknown archival material, I will show how Jewish writers used the theme of World War II to reshape the American public’s ideas about war, the Holocaust, and the role of Jews in postwar life. In contrast to most previous war fiction these new “Jewish” war novels were often ironic, funny, and irreverent and sought to teach the reading public broader lessons about liberalism, masculinity, and pluralism.

About the Speaker

LEAH GARRETT is Loti Smorgon Professor of Contemporary Jewish Life and Culture at Monash University in Australia. She has published four books and numerous articles on Jewish literature. Garrett's scholarship has been devoted to understanding how Jewish authors in an array of languages used their literary discourse to enact, reimagine, and subvert conventional ideas about the relationship between Jews and the modern world. This talk is based on her recent book that was shortlisted for the National Jewish Book Award: Young Lions: How Jewish Authors Reinvented the American War Novel (http://www.nupress.northwestern.edu/content/young-lions-1)


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