University of Minnesota
Center for Jewish Studies
jwst@umn.edu
612-624-4914


Center for Jewish Studies

Center for Jewish Studies

About Us

At the Center for Jewish Studies, we are dedicated to exploring the important questions about Jewish history and culture from antiquity to the modern age. Our acclaimed faculty, path-breaking research, expanding undergraduate program, and focus on deepening ties within the University attest to the success and ongoing promise of our mission: to foster a new understanding of Jewish culture and history.

We support the academic study of the historical, cultural, linguistic, ethnic, geographic, and religious diversity of the full range of peoples who identify themselves as Jewish, while fulfilling the educational mission of the liberal arts to promote critical thought, reflection on values, and analysis of sources.


Announcements

  • Campus Colloquium - "Refuge or Hostile Environment? - Erich Auerbach and German Jewishness in Modern Turkey" - Moritz Meutzner

    A lecture by Moritz Meutzner, Department of German, Scandinavian, & Dutch, University of Minnesota.

    135 Nicholson Hall
    Thursday, November 20, 2014
    4:00 P.M.

    Erich Auerbach's intellectual thought during his exile in Istanbul between 1936 and 1947 highly reflects the ambiguous role of German Jews in the Turkish Republic under Ataturk's reform agenda. Invited to Turkey after 1933 in order to provide the knowledge background for the nation's desired Europeanization, German-Jewish scholars were simultaneously regarded as politically weak subjects who do not threat Turkey's efforts towards political independence. Auerbach, who focuses his main works on the cultural transformation of Judeo-Christian ideas, relates his theoretical findings to his experiences of nationalism and anti-Semitism in Turkey in private letters. Whereas Auerbach's emphasis on the role of Judaism for the secular-humanistic tradition has to be understood as a defense of European humanism vis-à-vis its destruction in fascist Europe, his letter correspondence indicates a cultural skepticism nourished by analogies between Turkey's radical Westernization and fascist ideology. Taking up scholarship in the field of German-Turkish intellectual history and German-Jewish Studies, this presentation will examine Turkey as Auerbach's exile and its role for his complex notion of Jewishness in world history.

    (Continue Reading)10/31/14
  • "(Polish) Gentiles Doing Jewish Stuff...and the Jews Who Love/Hate Them" - Erica Lehrer

    Erica Lehrer.jpg

    A lecture by Erica Lehrer, Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair in the departments of History and Sociology-Anthropology at Concordia University, Montreal.

    Sunday, April 19, 2015 @ 7:30 P.M.
    Beth Jacob Congregation
    1179 Victoria Curve
    Saint Paul, MN 55118

    Jewish heritage revival in Poland is a phenomenon that has attracted a great deal of attention and provoked many controversies. Described as the world's largest Jewish cemetery and the realm of "virtual Jewishness," Poland is a space where the non-Jewish interest in things Jewish has been looked upon with particular skepticism. American cultural anthropologist Erica Lehrer ventures into this territory, both fascinating and fraught with tension, giving a fresh glimpse into the backstage of the Jewish heritage industry.

    Erica Lehrer is Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair in the departments of History and Sociology-Anthropology at Concordia University, Montreal. She is the author of Jewish Poland Revisited: Heritage Tourism in Unquiet Places (Indiana University Press 2013), and co-editor of Jewish Space in Contemporary Poland (Indiana University Press, 2014), and Curating Difficult Knowledge: Violent Pasts in Public Places (Palgrave 2010). As a curator, she produced the 2013 exhibit Souvenir, Talisman, Toy: Poland's Jewish Figurines in Kraków's Seweryn Udziela Ethnographic Museum, and published the accompanying catalog Lucky Jews (Ha!Art 2014).

    This series is made possible by a generous gift in memory of Julia K. & Harold Segall.

    Co-sponsored by Department of Anthropology, Institute for Advanced Study, the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Beth Jacob Congregation

    EricaLehrer_LectureFlyer.pdf

    (Continue Reading)10/31/14
  • "A Sephardic Journey Through the Twentieth Century" - Sarah Abrevaya Stein

    Sarah Stein.jpg

    A lecture by Sarah Abrevaya Stein, Professor of History and Maurice Amado Chair in Sephardic Studies at UCLA.

    Thursday, February 12, 2015 @ 7:30 P.M.
    Adath Jeshurun Congregation
    10500 Hillside Lane W.
    Minnetonka, MN 55305

    When the Ottoman Empire entered the First World War on the side of the Central Powers, thousands of Ottoman-born Jews lived in France, Great Britain, and their colonies. According to the logic of war, these Sephardic Jews ought to have been deemed 'enemy aliens;' subject to surveillance, deportation, and internment. However, they were granted novel legal identities, which allowed countless émigré Ottoman-born Jews to acquire the passports, residency permits, and official papers that were ever more indispensable to the modern world. This talk, built on a deep knowledge of Sephardic culture and European history, considers why the allied states inventively accommodated this immigrant population, and how individual Jewish women and men of Ottoman origin navigated a war-torn Europe.

    Sarah Abrevaya Stein is Professor of History and Maurice Amado Chair in Sephardic Studies at UCLA. Co-winner of the 2010 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature, her award-winning books include Plumes: Ostrich Feathers, Jews, and a Lost World of Global Commerce, Making Jews Modern: the Yiddish, and Saharan Jews and the Fate of French Algeria published by University of Chicago Press in 2014. An elected member of the American Academy for Jewish Research, Stein has also published widely in scholarly journals and has recently been appointed co-editor of Jewish Social Studies and co-series editor of the Stanford University Press Series in Jewish Culture and History.

    This series is made possible by a generous gift in memory of Julia K. & Harold Segall.

    Co-sponsored by Department of History, the Institute for Advanced Study; Adath Jeshurun Congregation.

    SarahStein_LectureFlyer.pdf

    (Continue Reading)10/30/14

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