Seminar 05 - Jewish Culture and Modernity

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Week 1 + 2: Cheryl Lester and Philip Barnard (Uiversity of Kansas, USA)


This seminar explores aspects of the evolution of concepts of Jewish culture in modernity, focusing on mostly U.S. literary-historical texts as its primary materials. Thus “modernity” (along with related concepts modernism and post-modernism) and “Jewish culture” become basic keywords and concepts to be viewed analytically, historicized, and periodized. We begin by asking how “modernity” and “Jewish culture” are interrelated and how the invention of tradition(s) is a basic dynamic of modernity. Our texts address this invention, the dynamics of modernity and modernism, and the question of Jewishness, from both literary (Brockden Brown, Joseph Roth, Philip Roth, etc.) and critical (Batnitzky, Gluck, Gruber, etc.) perspectives. The seminar’s readings, as they explore the construction and transformation(s) of Jewish modernity, trace out an ongoing dynamic of engagement and dis-engagement with identity formations and their vicissitudes.





Cheryl Lester 


Short CV: Coming soon

Philip Barnard


Short CV: Coming soon

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