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Sun, Feb 26

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Live via Zoom

Culture in the Shadow of Futurelessness - Lecture with Ken Moss

How did Yiddishist writers and poets look to culture and poetry to aid their community in the 1930s, and how did they reckon with the limits of culture itself?

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Culture in the Shadow of Futurelessness - Lecture with Ken Moss
Culture in the Shadow of Futurelessness - Lecture with Ken Moss

Time & Location

Feb 26, 2023, 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM CST

Live via Zoom

About the Event

In 1933, the great Yiddishist and diasporist activist Max Weinreich began a study of the political outlook of Polish Jewish youth that drove him to the precipice of despair about the future of Jewish life in Eastern Europe. This lecture explores how Weinreich and other Yiddishist writers and poets like Chaim Grade, Yankev Glatshteyn, Helena Khatskels, and Mikhl Burshtin confronted their growing sense that the communal and personal futures of the largest and most culturally significant Jewish community might be catastrophically foreclosed by the politics of antisemitism, rage, and fear flourishing across Europe by the early 1930s. How did Yiddishists committed to ideals of secular culture and the power of the word look to culture and poetry to aid and succor their community, how did they reckon with the limits of culture itself, and how did they begin to reinvent Yiddish culture in the process?

Kenneth B. Moss is the Harriet and Ulrich E. Meyer Professor of Jewish History at the University of Chicago. He is the author of An Unchosen People: Jewish Political Reckoning in Interwar Poland (Harvard University Press, 2021), which received the 2022 National Jewish Book Award for History from the Jewish Book Council, the 2022 Oskar Halecki Award for Polish and East Central European History from the Polish Institute for Arts and Sciences in America, and honorable mention for the 2022 Kulczycki Book Prize in Polish Studies and of Jewish Renaissance in the Russian Revolution (Harvard University Press, 2009), which received the 2010 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature and has now appeared in a revised Hebrew version as Yemei ha-ma’asim: tkhiat ha-tarbut ha-yehudit be-tkufat ha-mahpekhah ha-rusit.With Ben Nathans and Taro Tsurumi, he coedited From Europe’s East to the Middle East (UPenn, 2021) and with Israel Bartal, he is co-editing volume 7 of the Posen Library of Jewish Culture and Civilization: National Renaissance and International Horizons, 1880–1918 (Yale University Press, forthcoming). From 2014 to 2020, he coedited Jewish Social Studies. He is happy to be making a new life with his family in the city most famous for, of course, the L. M. Shteyn Farlag.

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