Loyalties and National Self­interpretations in the Central European Jewish Communities in the First Half of the 20th Century

 Call for Papers

Loyalties and National Self­interpretations in the Central European Jewish Communities in the First Half of the 20th Century

Szeged, 10-11 November 2015 (Tuesday, Wednesday)

MTA-SZTE Research Group for the Study of Religious Culture

H-6722 Szeged, Egyetem u. 2. Hungary

Phone: +36-62-544-050

During and after the First World War the empires built on dynastic bases were transformed into republics organised on national bases, kingdoms without kings, or new kingdoms. We see the First World War as a watershed in this process. Our conference aims to examine this process with special regard to Central European Jewish communities. We look forward to receiving papers that analyse and interpret the above change of attitude, change of identity, the creation of the old and new frames, and the changes in mentality that lay behind them.

We wish to approach the changes not from the angle of military events, the formation of alliances, or political history. Our interest is focused mainly on symbolical politics, narratives, collective rites, symbols and visual portrayals. We welcome source research based on prayer books, memoirs, press sources, works of art, as well as on such forms of popular culture as engravings, lithographs, small prints, small sacred images, postcards, and propaganda publications.

By the end of the war civil solidarity was replaced by ethnic group solidarity on the territory of the collapsed dynastic empires. After the war new nation states, which were organised on an ethnic basis, emerged in the territory of the former Monarchy. The collapse brought about changes in the elite as well as in the mainstream conceptions of nationhood and political trends. Jewish groups had to devise new strategies amidst ethnic national self­interpretations. Our conference aims at exploring how the judgement of Jews changed in Central Europe that was necessarily re-formed as almost entirely homogeneous nation states after the war, and what kind of answers different Jewish groups provided to this. Moreover, the spaces of Jewish and non-Jewish coexistence, the forms of representations of segregation as well as the closed discourses in relation to them are also among the main goals of the research.

It is our hope that the conference will facilitate the understanding of what kind of social historical changes the self-definition of Central European Jewry underwent. It could also clarify the historical bases of contemporary discourses and the changing contexts and associations of meanings of certain elements of the discourse. By applying the qualitative and comparative methods used for the study of culture and within the conceptual framework of the research into information history, historical anthropology, new cultural history, art sociology, sociology and religion, it will be possible to analyse the local and regional forms of manifestations of general tendencies on the basis of the system of references of social history.It is up to 1948 that research has investigated symbolical political processes within Jewry, the changes of group self­definitions, the characteristically different spaces and frameworks of interactions among social groups, and what kind of image each strategy created about the changes and invariability of its own situation with regard to its relationship with the majority of the society.

Our aim is a cultural translation in a fundamentally changed context. It is also intended to interpret and clarify the strategies of members of milieus which are quite remote from our present and in many cases not related to the memory of the families or the community, in order to make it more understandable for contemporary Hungarian society and Jewish generations.

Papers can be on any topic within the above general theme. This circular letter is intended more as a guide than as an exhaustive compulsory frame for the theme.

In the case of a large number of applications the organisers reserve the right to select speakers on the basis of the abstracts submitted. The organisers are able to provide assistance only for university accommodation, participants will be required to cover the cost of accommodation and meals. Applications should be submitted on the attached form.

Formal requirements:

A 20-line abstract summing up the topic examined, the methods used and the results to be presented. The deadline for abstracts is 15 September 2015. Time allowed for the presentation of papers during the conference in Szeged on 10–11 November 2015 is 20 minutes, followed by 10 minutes of discussion.

As we would like to publish the papers in a volume of studies, we would be pleased if participants could also bring this version to the conference. (Maximum length of the study: 20,000 characters including spaces and footnotes, roughly 10 printed pages. In the case of a study with illustrations, 2 illustrations count as one page that must be deducted from the planned total length of the writing.)

Contact: Dr. Norbert Glässer, MTA-SZTE Research Group on Religious Culture, Egyetem u. 2., 6722 Szeged, e-mail: norbertglaesser [KUKAC] gmail [PONT] com, Dr. András Zima, Jewish Theological Seminary – University of Jewish Studies, Scheiber Sándor u. 2., 1084 Budapest, e-mail: andras [PONT] zima [KUKAC] gmail [PONT] com

Főoldal Hírek Loyalties and National Self­interpretations in the Central European Jewish Communities in the First Half of the 20th Century