Upcoming Conference “Agents of Cultural Change: Jewish and Other Responses to Modernity, ca. 1750–1900”

On October 8–10, 2018 the German Historical Institute Washington DC (GHI) will host the concluding conference of our research project. Organized by Simone Lässig, Zohar Shavit and Kerstin von der Krone the conference will provide an opportunity to discuss our findings  with a group of international scholars from a variety of disciplines. We aim to situate our research within the broader historiographical context and the research on social and cultural transformations and ask more generally what role religion, education and knowledge played in responding to change.

The Bar Mitzvah Discourse (Bar-Mizwa-Vortrag) by Moritz Daniel Oppenheim, 1869. Via Jewish Museum New York.

Seating is limited, if you plan to attend the conference please register with Ms. Susanne Fabricius at fabricius(at)ghi-dc.org by September 15, 2018.

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Upcoming Conference: “Religious Knowledge and Position Taking in the 19th Century” – May 22-23, 2018 (Frankfurt am Main)

Simone Lässig, Zohar Shavit, Kerstin von der Krone and Tal Kogman will participate in the conference “Religious Knowledge and Position Taking in the 19th Century: The Case of Educational Media” that will take place at Goethe University Frankfurt am Main on May 22-23, 2018. The Conference is organized by David Käbisch and Christian Wiese (Goethe University Frankfurt) as part of the research focus Religious Positioning: Modalities and Constellations in Jewish, Christian and Muslim Contexts.

For a detailed program see here.

Agents of Cultural Change: Jewish and other Responses to Modernity, ca. 1750–1900

CALL FOR PAPERS

International Conference at the German Historical Institute, Washington DC, October 8–10, 2018

Conveners: Simone Lässig (German Historical Institute, Washington DC), Zohar Shavit (Tel Aviv University), Kerstin von der Krone (German Historical Institute, Washington DC)

Deadline: November 15, 2017

Everyday language posits a dichotomy between the traditional and the new, but as Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger taught us, ostensible traditions can be modern responses to new challenges. We have to be careful about easy dichotomies that assume the apparently old is really that. Educational, religious, and other cultural practices that appear to merely manifest the old can very well represent innovative adaptations of the traditional in response to new social, cultural, political, and economic challenges. This is the premise of the German–Israeli research project “Innovation through Tradition? Jewish Educational Media and Cultural Transformation in the Face of Modernity.”

Adopting the perspective of this DFG-funded project, our conference starts from the assumption that the history of Ashkenazi Jewry in German-speaking Europe during the 18th and 19th centuries can offer not only new insights into Jewish history but also an exciting point of departure for more general questions about the resilience and coping strategies that groups develop when confronted with deep-reaching, sometimes existence-threatening social change in an increasingly complex world. The conference asks how members of a distinctive socio-cultural system—characterized by a particular set of linguistic practices, cultural meanings, religious practices, and knowledge orders—transformed that system. Further, it seeks to understand how members of this system communicated and translated major changes, how they made them socially relevant and acceptable.

Exploring these questions on the basis of a variety of sources and perspectives, we are particularly interested in processes of cultural translation and knowledge production. Although Jewish history is the point of departure in our research, this conference aims at a broader perspective and will focus on entanglements and comparisons of Jewish and other responses to modernity. Thus, we encourage proposals for papers that address the full sweep of the modern religio-cultural landscape—especially in the German-speaking territories—and that offer conference participants a chance to relate Jewish historical experiences to broader aspects of cultural transfer and translation. We are particularly interested in contributions that discuss the interdependencies of education and religion and their impact on prevalent systems of knowledge and practices of knowledge production.
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