Fall 2021 Programming

(All events will be held online via ZOOM Webinar, visit our website for more information.)

Jewish Autonomy in a Slave Society: Suriname in the Atlantic World, 1651-1825 book cover

Tuesday, September 14, 2021, 5:00PM (EDT)

A panel discussion on Aviva Ben-Ur’s “Jewish Autonomy in a Slave Society:
Suriname in the Atlantic World, 1651-1825”

Jewish Autonomy in a Slave Society explores the political and social history of the Jews of Suriname, a Dutch colony on the South American mainland just north of Brazil. Suriname was home to the most privileged Jewish community in the Americas where Jews, most of Iberian origin, enjoyed liberties and owned plantations and slaves. Aviva Ben-Ur sets the story of Suriname's Jews in the larger context of Atlantic slavery and colonialism and argues that, like other frontier settlements, they achieved and maintained their autonomy through continual negotiation with the colonial government. The Jewish experience in Suriname was thus marked by unparalleled autonomy that nevertheless developed in one of the largest slave colonies in the New World.

Aviva Ben-Ur is Professor of Judaic and Near Eastern Studies at UMass Amherst specializing in Atlantic Jewish history, slavery studies, and the Ottoman diaspora. She is the author of, among others, Sephardic Jews in America: A Diasporic History (New York University Press, 2009).

Marjoleine Kars is Professor of Early American and Atlantic slavery and of the Age of Revolution at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She recently published Blood on the River: A Chronicle of Mutiny and Freedom on the Wild Coast (New York: The New Press, 2020) about a remarkably successful rebellion of enslaved people in Dutch Berbice (now Guyana) in 1763-1764.

Stanley Mirvis is Assistant Professor of history and the Harold and Jean Grossman Chair of Jewish Studies at Arizona State University. His most recent book is The Jews of Eighteenth-Century Jamaica: A Testamentary History of a Diaspora in Transition (Yale University Press, 2020), a study of last will and testaments exploring the relationship between colonial and metropolitan Jews and the nature of Jewish creolization in the British West Indies.

This event is co-sponsored by the department of Judiac and Near Eastern Studies at UMass Amherst.

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The Problems of Genocide: Permanent Security and the Language of Transgression

Tuesday, October 19, 2021, 1:00PM (EDT)

The IHGMS and the Avraham Harman Research Institute of Contemporary Jewry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem present their annual series:
Conversations on Racism, Antisemitism, and Islamophobia

A conversation with A. Dirk Moses on his book “The Problems of Genocide: Permanent Security and the Language of Transgression”

Genocide is not only a problem of mass death, but also of how, as a relatively new idea and law, it organizes and distorts thinking about civilian destruction. Taking the normative perspective of civilian immunity from military attack, A. Dirk Moses argues that the implicit hierarchy of international criminal law, atop which sits genocide as the “crime of crimes,” blinds us to other types of humanly caused civilian death, like bombing cities, and the “collateral damage” of missile and drone strikes. Talk of genocide, then, can function ideologically to detract from systematic violence against civilians perpetrated by governments of all types. The Problems of Genocide contends that this violence is the consequence of ‘permanent security’ imperatives: the striving of states, and armed groups seeking to found states, to make themselves invulnerable to threats.

A. Dirk Moses is Frank Porter Graham Distinguished Professor of Global Human Rights History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has written extensively about Germany, genocide, and global history.

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Born After: Reckoning with the German Past book cover

Tuesday, November 9, 2021, at 12:00PM (EST)

The Kristallnacht Memorial Event:
A panel discussion on Angelika Bammer’s “Born After: Reckoning with the German Past”

What do we do with pasts we inherit that carry shame? Born After reflects on the relationship between history and memory through the personal narrative of a postwar German intellectual. Arguing that the pasts that haunt us are shaped both by the things people did and suffered and the affective traces the past leaves in memory, Born After is a meditation on questions of guilt, complicity, loss, and longing. With bracing honesty and without sentimentality, Angelika Bammer draws on her own family story to think anew about a history that we have come to accept as familiar.

Angelika Bammer is Professor of Comparative Literature and Interdisciplinary Humanities at Emory University. She is the author of, among others, The Future of Scholarly Writing: Critical Interventions (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015).

Aleida Assmann is Professor of English and Literary Studies Emerita at the University of Konstanz in Germany. Her work has focused on cultural anthropology and cultural and communicative Memory.

Roger Frie is Professor of Education at Simon Fraser University and Affiliate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver. He is the author most recently of the award-winning book Not in My Family: German Memory and Responsibility After the Holocaust (Oxford University Press, 2017).

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Tuesday, November 16, 2021, at 1:00PM (EST) / 20:00 (Israel time)
The IHGMS and the Avraham Harman Research Institute of Contemporary Jewry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem present their annual series:
“Encounters: Conversations on Racism, Antisemitism, and Islamophobia"

A Conversation with Sol Goldberg and Scott Ury on their co-edited volume (together with Kalman Weiser) Key Concepts in the Study of Antisemitism

What is antisemitism past and present and how to define it has become a contested historical and political topic in the last few years. Key Concepts in the Study of Antisemitism, edited by Sol Goldberg, Scott Ury, and Kal­man Weiser attempts to enhance our understanding of the phenomena by being both intellectually challenging and methodologically innova­tive. Recognizing that antisemitism's manifestations are diverse and its causes many, the volume explores the phenomenon's complexity through the concepts most salient to its comprehension in the present as well as the past. The volume's twenty-one concepts include, among others, Gen­der, Zionism, orientalism, emancipation, and postcolonialism. Leading the conversation with Goldberg and Ury is Stefanie Schuler-Springo­rum. She will highlight, among others, how the turn to key concepts not only disrupts larger, chronological narratives that often frame the study of antisemitism, but also brings the phenomenon into conversation with a range of other fields and disciplines.

Sol Goldberg is Associate Professor in the Department for the Study of Religion and the Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies at the University of Toronto.

Scott Ury is Senior Lecturer in Tel Aviv University's Department of Jewish History where he is also Director of the Eva and Marc Besen Institute for the Study of Historical Consciousness and Senior Editor of the journal History & Memory: Studies in Representation of the Past.

Stefanie Schuler-Springorum is Historian and Director of the Center for Research on Antisemitism in Berlin as well as member of the Board of Directors of the Selma Stern Center for Jewish Studies Berlin-Brandenburg.

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Empathy and the Historical Understanding of the Human Past book cover

Monday, November 29, 2021, 5:00PM (EST)

A panel discussion on Thomas Kohut’s "Empathy and the Historical Understanding of the Human Past”

Empathy and the Historical Understanding of the Human Past considers the role of empathy in historical knowledge, informed by fields of study including history, psychoanalysis, psychology, neuroscience, philosophy, and sociology. The book seeks to raise the self-consciousness of historians about their use of empathy to know and understand past people. Thomas Kohut argues that historians need to be aware of their observational position, of when they are empathizing and when they are not. Indeed, Kohut advocates for the deliberate, self-reflective use of empathy as a legitimate and important mode of historical inquiry.

Thomas Kohut is the Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III Professor of History at Williams College in Massachusetts. A historian with psychoanalytic training, he has published, among others, A German Generation: An Experiential History of the Twentieth Century (Yale, 2012). He is currently a member of the Council of Scholars, which advises the Erikson Institute at Riggs. He is also President of the Board of the Freud Foundation US.

Jane G. Tillman, PhD, ABPP is the Evelyn Stefansson Nef Director of the Erikson Institute for Education, Research, and Advocacy of the Austen Riggs Center. A board-certified clinical psychologist and a psychoanalyst, Dr. Tillman is an Assistant Clinical Professor at the Yale Child Study Center and a Teaching Associate in Psychiatry at the Cambridge Health Alliance of Harvard Medical School.

Frank Biess is Professor of Modern European History with an emphasis on 20th Century Germany at the University of California, San Deigo. His first book, Homecoming. Returning POWs and the Legacies of Defeat in Postwar Germany (Princeton, 2006) explored the ways in which both German societies coped with the ongoing legacies of war and defeat.

Marion Kaplan is Skirball Professor of Modern Jewish History at New York University. She is a three-time winner of the National Jewish Book Award. Her newest book is Hitler’s Jewish Refugees: Hope and Anxiety in Portugal, 1940-45 (Yale University Press, 2020).

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Dear Palestine: A Social History of the 1948 War”book cover

Thursday, December 9, 2021, 12:00PM (EST)

A panel discussion on Shay Hazkani’s “Dear Palestine: A Social History of the 1948 War”

In 1948 in Palestine, thousands of Jews and Arabs came from all over the world to join to fight in the ranks of the Israel Defense Forces and the Arab Liberation Army. With Dear Palestine, the young men and women who made up these armies come to life through their letters home. Shay Hazkani offers a new history of the 1948 War through these letters. Through two narratives—the official and unofficial, the propaganda and the personal letters—Dear Palestine reveals the fissures between sanctioned nationalism and individual identity.

Shay Hazkani is Assistant Professor of History and Jewish Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park. In his research and teachings, he focuses on the interactions between elites and non-elites, and how ideas which emanate from elites and state institutions were transformed and subverted as they make their way to the reflections and conduct of ordinary people.

Nadia Abu El-Haj is Ann Whitney Olin Professor in the Departments of Anthropology at Barnard College and Columbia University, Co-Director of the Center for Palestine Studies, and Chair of the Governing Board of the Society of Fellows/Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University. She also serves as Vice President and Vice Chair of the Board at The Institute for Palestine Studies in Washington DC. Among her books is Facts on the Ground: Archaeological Practice and Territorial Self-Fashioning in Israeli Society (2001), which won the Albert Hourani Annual Book Award from the Middle East Studies Association in 2002.

Laila Parsons is Professor of modern Middle East history at McGill University. Her most recent book, The Commander: Fawzi al-Qawuqji and the Fight for Arab Independence, 1914–1948 (New York: Farrar Straus and Giroux, 2016), was the recipient of the 2017 Palestine Book Award and the Society for Military History’s 2017 Distinguished Book Award. She is currently writing a book on the British occupation of Palestine, 1917-1948.

Areej Sabbagh-Khoury is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She received her doctorate at Tel Aviv University and completed research posts at Columbia, New York, Brown, and Tufts Universities. Her research focuses on the political and historical sociology of Israeli and Palestinian societies. She explores the interactions between different aspects of Zionist history and ideology vis-à-vis liberal and social ideologies, with an emphasis on settler colonialism, memory, and gender.

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