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East End Jews
In the late-19th Century, the church at the corner of Brick Lane became a synagogue, as thousands of Jews moved into Spitalfields in the Huguenots’s wake. More than 2 million Jews left Eastern Europe between 1881 and 1914, prompted by economic hardship and increasingly ferocious persecution. Following the assassination of Tsar Alexander II in 1881, the persecution of Jews in Russia became even fiercer, and a wave of pogroms swept across Russia and neighbouring countries.
Many Jews landing in England actually intended to go to America, but about 120,000 stayed in this country. Again attracted by the area’s reputation as a place for cheap living, and by the fact that it had been home to a Jewish population in previous centuries, large numbers settled in Spitalfields, often finding work in the ‘rag trade’. By 1900 Jews formed around 95% of the population in the Wentworth Street district of Spitalfields.
He’s not a literary author, but has been a enormous influence for critics and authors in the world of Anglo-Jewish writing (and far beyond–I just bought a book of his in Phoenix, AZ) that it is worth linking to him here.
Director Josh Appignanesi
This is not only a very Jewish movie, it’s a very British and a very Islamic movie dealing with the matter of multiculturalism. Omid Djalili plays Mahmud, a Muslim who discovers not only that he’s been adopted but also that he’s Jewish. The script, written by comedian David Baddiel, delivers fistfuls of one-liners (Mahmud is escorted away by security guard and retorts “You find out you’re Jewish and suddenly some bloke in a uniform is leading you away?”).
When asked about the basis for the comedy in the subject matter, Baddiel explained: “These communities and cultures are seen as at war or polarised, or at opposite sides of the fence, which allows for a body swap sort of situation to arise.” It has recently been adapted as a stage musical.
- ‘Tragedy or Neutropia? The Honourable Woman’
Dr. Sue Vice, University of Sheffield
- ‘British-Jewish Utopias and Dystopias from Zangwill to Jacobson’
Professor Brian Cheyette, University of Reading
- “No Outlines”: From Dystopia to Heterotopia in Howard Jacobson’s J’
Dr. Ruth Gilbert, University of Winchester
- ‘Messianism and British-Jewish Utopia’
Dr. Peter Lawson, Open University
- ‘The Future is Orange: Utopia and Dystopia in the Films of Stanley Kubrick’
Dr. Nathan Abrams, Bangor University
- ‘No Promised Land: A. C. Jacobs’ Poetry and the “Moment” of Diaspora’
Dr. Merle Bachman, Spalding University
- ‘East, North and West End: The Promised Land across London in the Plays of Bernard Kops’
Mr. Jeremy Solomons, Boston University & University of Reading
- Reading from her memoir “Losing Israel”
Jasmine Donohaye, Swansea University
- ‘The Idea of Jewish Racial Space: Zionist Utopia in the Anglo-Jewish Imagination’
Professor Gavin Schaffer, University of Birmingham
- ‘Jewtopia: Herbert Samuel, Rewriting Bacon’s New Atlantis, and Zionism’
Dr. Finn Fordham, Royal Holloway University of London
- ‘Skin: a Metafictional Investigation into Jewish “Blackness” from Chamberlain’s and Pierce’s Racism to its Deconstruction in Modern British Film’
Dr. Federico Dal Bo, ICI Berlin
- Paper Title: ‘Michael Moorcock’s Pyat Quartet, Twentieth-Century History, and the Failure of the Utopian’
Dr. Eric Sandberg, University of Oulu
My professor Bryan Cheyette aside from being a literary scholar is a Dylanologist. In a personal sense, Dylan is a connection–when I first began to think about doing my doctorate, I spent several amazing times talking through ideas with Christopher Ricks, Dr. Cheyette names “Dylanologist-in-Chief.” After the topics that Dr. Ricks and I were discussing didn’t lead to an obvious PhD topic, I went home and came up with my current work, and now have the honour of working with the “Anglo-Jewish Literologist-in-Chief.” Read Dr. Cheyette’s essay on Dylan and his connection to Jewishness at the University of Reading, English at Reading blog.
Really interested in seeing this.
Jay Howard Geller and Leslie Morris, Editors
As German Jews emigrated in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and as exiles from Nazi Germany, they carried the traditions, culture, and particular prejudices of their home with them. At the same time, Germany—and Berlin in particular—attracted both secular and religious Jewish scholars from eastern Europe. They engaged in vital intellectual exchange with German Jewry, although their cultural and religious practices differed greatly, and they absorbed many cultural practices that they brought back to Warsaw or took with them to New York and Tel Aviv. After the Holocaust, German Jews and non-German Jews educated in Germany were forced to reevaluate their essential relationship with Germany and Germanness as well as their notions of Jewish life outside of Germany.
Among the first volumes to focus on German-Jewish transnationalism, this interdisciplinary collection spans the fields of history, literature, film, theater, architecture, philosophy, and theology as it examines the lives of significant emigrants. The individuals whose stories are reevaluated include German Jews Ernst Lubitsch, David Einhorn, and Gershom Scholem, the architect Fritz Nathan and filmmaker Helmar Lerski; and eastern European Jews David Bergelson, Der Nister, Jacob Katz, Joseph Soloveitchik, and Abraham Joshua Heschel—figures not normally associated with Germany. Three-Way Street addresses the gap in the scholarly literature as it opens up critical ways of approaching Jewish culture not only in Germany, but also in other locations, from the mid-nineteenth century to the present.
“A much-needed, original analytic approach that helps reframe conventional studies of German-Jewish history. Beyond merely comparing German-Jewish culture to Jewish culture elsewhere, it combines cutting-edge research with fresh readings of well-known works and sites viewed through an effective transnational lens. As a result, the book offers important new insight into German Jewish experiences through smart essays on a range of subjects including architecture, literature, film, photography, and history.”
—Lisa Silverman, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Jay Howard Geller is Samuel Rosenthal Professor of Judaic Studies and Associate Professor of History at Case Western Reserve University.
Leslie Morris is Associate Professor of German at the University of Minnesota.
Please be offended–be offended by the title, be offended by the behaviour of the characters, by the way the author plays with history, with the literary history of Russia and Yiddish culture, but be really offended by the way Stalin treated so many of the citizens of the Soviet Union. If you are the ending will satisfy you, and bring a fantstical catharsis to the way you think about Uncle Joe the next time you think about him.
This is a funny book. Funny in a Coen brothers way–as people are murdered/righteously killed by these actors and clowns. It’s a violent book.
It’s a riotous joy to read.
From the author’s website:
“MOSCOW, FEBRUARY 1953. A week before Stalin’s death, his final pogrom is in full swing. Three government goons arrive in the middle of the night to arrest Solomon Shimonovich Levinson, an actor from the defunct State Jewish Theater. But Levinson, now an old man, is a veteran of past wars, and his shocking response to the intruders sets in motion a series of events both zany and deadly as he proceeds to assemble a ragtag group to help him enact a mad-brilliant plot: the assassination of a tyrant.”
New York Times
“Soon there is a core group determined to stop the deportation and pogrom that could become Stalin’s last gift to Russian Jews…The Yid is about Stalin’s worst enemy as well as his favorite prey. Mr. Goldberg fuses these characters and all that they suggest to Stalin—Paul Robeson for Lewis, Anna Akhmatova for one of the book’s women—into one hellish vision to haunt that dictator during his last hours on earth. So he gets one last gift, too.”
Maureen Corrigan at NPR
“‘The Yid’ doesn’t play nice. In fact, it plays fast and loose with history as well as with conventional approaches to writing about anti-Semitism and genocide.
CFP for a Symposium, co-sponsored by the AHRC BJ:CC Network (Bangor University and the University of Winchester) and ‘Identities’ at the University of Reading, to be held at the University of Reading on 4th November, 2016:
Deadline for submissions: Saturday, October 1, 2016
The Interface Between British Contemporary Black and Jewish Cultures
Over the past three decades, a considerable body of work has emerged on the interface between Black and Jewish cultures in the United States. In contrast, there has been very little scholarship on Black-Jewish cultural relations in the context of the United Kingdom. To a certain extent, this disparity can be explained by the very different histories of Jewish and Black populations on either side of the Atlantic. The history of slavery, reconstruction, segregation and civil rights in the US has no direct analogy in the UK and the post-war cultural confidence and prominence of Jews in America contrasts conspicuously with the relative ambivalence, historically, of British Jews towards both their Jewishness and Britishness. Whilst recognizing the importance of these differences, however, there is much, in terms of the discourse that has developed around what Lori Harrison-Kahan has called the ‘Black-Jewish imaginary’ that could be appropriated, refined and revised in the British context. We would welcome proposals of no more than 300 words for twenty-minute papers on any aspect of the interface between Black British and Jewish cultures widely defined, including but not restricted to, literature, film, television, art, digital media, photography, drama, dance and other forms of performance. Topics may include but need not be confined to the following:
- the relationship between the ‘Black/Jewish imaginary’ in the US context and Black/Jewish cultural relations in the UK;
- the influence of African American and Jewish American artists on their British counterparts;
- the ways in which British Jewish culture has represented Black identities and vice versa;
- issues of self-representation in Black British and British Jewish cultures;
- the ways in which Black British and British Jewish cultures have interrogated questions of race, ethnicity and religion;
- the ways in which Black British and British Jewish artists have been situated and positioned themselves in terms of discourses around ‘minorities’, ‘otherness’ and ‘whiteness’;
- the ways in which Black British and British Jewish cultures have responded to the changing political, historical and economic contexts of the post-war period, particularly the activities of Far Right movements, debates over (im)migration, multiculturalism, identity politics, race relations, Apartheid-era South Africa and the Israel/Palestine conflict;
- the similarities and differences between the ways in which contemporary Black British and Jewish cultures have represented the experience of the ‘Windrush’ generation of Black immigrants and that of post-war Jewish immigrants to the UK;
- the ways in which twenty-first century Black and Jewish British cultures have responded to the presence of antisemitism, Islamophobia and other forms of racism and xenophobia in contemporary society and discourse.
A buffet lunch will be provided.