The exploration of multilateral Jewish-Polish-German relations is crucial for the reading and understanding of the deeper content of European culture. In order for this reading to be correct, it is necessary to distinguish and take into account several overlapping perspectives: the inner- Jewish and the external one, resulting from the perception of the Jewish world by non-Jews and vice versa. The long-term continuity and development of the Ashkenazic Diaspora tradition and the interruption of this continuity caused by the Holocaust are reflected in the asymmetry between the Jewish and non-Jewish memory cultures. Recalling the key contents and threads of this "interrupted" tradition and memory is the most important goal of the conference.
The methodology of the project rests on the concept of lieux de mémoire (Pierre Nora, Hagen Schulze, Etienne François), which overlaps with the notion of ha-makom (a place - singular, in Hebrew) rooted in Jewish tradition. Its key position in Jewish culture developed from the need to maintain cultural continuity in the context of the diaspora, and the concomitant variability of references to geographic locations. Consequently, the ha-mekomot (the plural form) have become shared realms of memory, places of reference and recollection, realms of departure, and of return. Because of this, Jewish culture and tradition is primarily a culture of memory. For the Jewish community and diaspora, memory and realms of memory, as well as ways of commemorating are vital instances of shared reference.
Diverting from national historiographies, we expect the research presented during the conference to define anew the relationship between the three communities mentioned above, and to rest on two research perspectives: the Beziehungsgeschichte or the ‘history of mutual relations’, and ‘history of the second degree’, i.e., studies on cultures of memory. Such point of view emphasizes the multilateral influences between the different communities. The interaction can take place both between nations/peoples and nation-states and between entities that are regional, religious, class or gender in nature.
An interesting focal point is the history of particular realms of memory (e.g. concepts and ideas, events, people and places).We are also interested in tracing the process how they developed, evolved and changed their meaning in all three cultures. The fundamental questions to be answered would be: How did they emerge and how did they merge into Polish and German cultural spaces? What forms did they take and how were/are they manifested? Finally, we would like to define their current place in the memory of all three cultures. Possible examples of such common realms of memory would be: Polin, shtetl, Ashkenaz, Golem, the Eternal Jew, Alilat Dam, the Messiah. However, we are open to individual proposals of Jewish-Polish-German realms of memory.
We would like to invite to participate in our conference scholars of broadly understood humanities: i.e. history, art history, literature and linguistics (Hebrew, Yiddish, German, Polish), cultural sciences, gender studies, Jewish studies, etc. The research questions do not require to be chronologically confined.
Please submit your paper proposals as abstracts (250 words) in English along with a short academic CV until April 15th, 2019, to: [email protected],
The conference will be held in English (no translation provided), and is preliminarily scheduled for Septemebr 4th-5th, 2019.