On Campus & Online | Empire, Nation, and What Connects Them: The Jews as a Transimperial Minority in the Modern Era

Series of Discussions: Jews and the Empires: Political Imagination in the Present

For the Series >

Thursday | 03.06.21 | 19:00

Lecture by Prof. Israel Bartal | 

With advance registration >

The number of seats is limited

What can we learn from how Jews existed in the multinational modern empires? What possibilities did the imperial age offer the Jews who lived within the empires? Which of those possibilities disappeared with the end of that era, and which new ones emerged?

Recent years have seen an increasing scholarly engagement with the question of the Jews’ place in the modern multinational empires: the British, Russian, Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian, and French. In this discussion series, to be held at the Institute, we will consider key aspects of Jewish history and Jewish thought in the imperial context – a context in which there was no requirement for the unity of religion, nationality, language, and territory. Given that in the imperial era there were various forms of religious and nonsovereign national frameworks, we will use that fact to create an opening for political thought about the present and the future, and not only about the past.

The series will begin with an introductory lecture by Prof. Israel Bartal, followed by six meetings. The core of each meeting will be a conversation between two scholars engaged with various aspects of the topic in question. Thus, for example, there will be a discussion of the place of Safed in the Ottoman Empire, the nature of Jewish literature in multinational empires, and Iraq and Galicia as imperial frontier areas. The discussions will address the Jewish aspects within a larger general context, examining the integration and involvement of Jewish agents and collectives in various processes in the empires, and a comparison of the role of non-Jewish factors in these processes. The connection between the topic under discussion and the current Jewish situation will also be examined: What can be learned from it and which directions of thought that have been forgotten or neglected can it reintroduce to the current discussion?

Organizers of the series: Ido Harari, Dr. Avi-ram Tzoreff, Dr. Maya Shabbat, Dafna Schreiber


Prof. Israel Bartal, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Chair: Ido Harari, The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute

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