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International Conference: Jewish Responeses to Nationalism in Central and East Central Europe

In view of the current political boom of populist nationalism (not only) in Europe, the question of the exclusionary as well as openly anti-Semitic potential of contemporary nationalist rhetoric becomes virulent again. The conference will take a comparative look at historical and contemporary developments in Central and East-Central Europe focussing on Jewish critics of ethnic nationalism. We strive for a discussion of discursive and artistic challenges to nationalism by Jewish opponents as well as of the political options and strategies of action (as defense or intervention) of Jews associated with the critique of ethnic nationalism. The latter range historically from integrationist projects to ideas of Jewish autonomy and Jewish nationalism, utopias of overcoming the national in internationalism (including planned languages such as Esperanto) or communism. It is arguable to what degree the Jewish modernization processes in the Central and Eastern European diaspora can be attributed to the growing anti-Semitic nationalisms of the non-Jewish majority societies. We assume that the dynamics were determined in many ways. However, we would like to focus specifically on phenomena that provide information about the connection between (anti-Semitic) nationalism and Jewish counter-reactions. These include various forms of discursive criticism, artistic action, political imagination and intervention, or life design.



  • Prof. Dr. Magdalena Marszałek (Slavic Institute of the University of Potsdam
  • Prof. Dr. Christoph Schulte (Institute for Jewish Studies and Religious Studies of the University of Potsdam)
  • Dr. Marcos Silber (Department of Jewish History of the University of Haifa)
  • Dr. Cedric Cohen Skalli (Bucerius Institute for Research of Contemporary German History and Society at the University of Haifa)

Contact: Franziska Koch (frkoch@uni-potsdam.de)

Conference Venue
Gewölbehalle im Haus der Brandenburgisch-Preußischen Geschichte
Am Neuen Markt 9
14467 Potsdam