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“The Promised Land” Open University, London, 23rd July 2015

http://bjcc.bangor.ac.uk/past-events.php.en

Papers given:

  • ‘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
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A Triumph of Dylanology

bob-dylan-in-tallisMy 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.

A triumph of Dylanology

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New Book: Three-Way Street: Jews, Germans, and the Transnational

three-way-streetReally 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.

http://www.press.umich.edu/9221214/three_way_street

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The Yid

the-yid-cover
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.”

Reviews:

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.

More reviews

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CFP: The Interface Between British Contemporary Black and Jewish Cultures

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.

Please send your proposals to Prof. David Brauner (d.brauner@reading.ac.uk>), Prof. Nathan Abrams (n.abrams@bangor.ac.uk) and Dr. Ruth Gilbert (Ruth.Gilbert@winchester.ac.uk) by 1st September 2016.

A buffet lunch will be provided.

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CONFERENCE ANNOUNCEMENT AND CALL FOR PAPERS

Pears Institute for the study of Antisemitism, Birkbeck, University of London
30 May – 1 June 2017 CONFERENCE ANNOUNCEMENT AND CALL FOR PAPERS
 This timely conference will examine the interaction between Zionism and antisemitism as it has developed from the late nineteenth century through to the present day. We are interested in exploring this interaction as it developed among Zionists and antisemites, and among Jews and non-Jews more broadly. We welcome proposals that consider this theme as it has developed in theory, in practice, and in the manifold domains of cultural representation.We seek contributions from across the range of disciplines including history, political science, literary and cultural studies, anthropology, sociology and theology. The conference is open to scholars at any stage of their career, from PhD students to established scholars. Proposals from independent scholars are also welcome.

Speakers will be provided with accommodation in London as well as support towards their travel costs.

 Deadline for paper proposals: 14 November 2016.

A paper proposal of 200-300 words, together with a brief CV or biography, (of no more than one page) should be sent to Elaine Hudson pearsinstitute@bbk.ac.ukby 14 November 2016.

Full information on the conference and call for papers is on the Pears Institute website: http://www.pearsinstitute.bbk.ac.uk/events/events-calendar/zionism-and-antisemitism-international-conference/zionism-and-antisemitism-cfp/

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O Dreamland

A documentary film written and directed by Lindsay Anderson in 1953.  It looks at the Dreamland Fun Fair in Margate that relates to Bernard Kops’ play and novel On Margate Sands.   Click on the images below or here to view the whole film.

 

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James Ensor

In my reading and thinking about Jewish theatre, I come across things that I didn’t know about or haven’t thought about much. Some are specifically Jewish, and others are just be something that I or someone else thought of in thinking about a Jewish writer or some other Jewish context.

Here’s one: James Ensorc23f799d0d9de141223c6c3e17a84432james-ensor-366255

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Deborah Levy Shortlisted for Booker

levy-book-prize-nominationPaul Beatty, Deborah Levy, Graeme Macrae Burnet, Ottessa Moshfegh, David Szalay, and Madeleine Thien have been named to the shortlist for the 2016 Man Booker Prize for Fiction.

This is the third year that the prize has been open to writers of any nationality, and it finds the shortlist evenly split between two British, two American, and two Canadian writers, as well as between Penguin Random House and independent publishers.

Read more…

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RIP Peter Shaffer

Peter Shaffer

Obituraries;PEter Shaffer 1980
The Guardian
The New York TImes
Jewish Chronicle

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