Sun, Mar 12|
Live via Zoom
Lecture on Jewish Primitivism with Professor Samuel Spinner
What led figures as diverse as Franz Kafka, Y. L. Peretz, and Else Lasker-Schüler to imagine European Jews in terms similar to colonized non-Western peoples?
Time & Location
Mar 12, 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM CDT
Live via Zoom
About the Event
Around the beginning of the 20th century Jewish writers and artists across Europe depicted fellow Jews as “primitive.” Figures as diverse as Franz Kafka, Y. L. Peretz, Else Lasker-Schüler, Der Nister, and Moï Ver turned primitivism – the European fascination with and denigration of non-Western peoples – on to themselves. Jewish Primitivism uncovers this phenomenon and explains how it was used to explore the urgent political and aesthetic issues surrounding Jewish identity in Europe. Showing how Jewish primitivism troubles the boundary between insider and outsider, cultured and “primitive,” colonizer and colonized, Jewish Primitivism offers a new assessment of European modernism and of modern Jewish culture.
Samuel Spinner is Assistant Professor of Yiddish at Johns Hopkins University, where he researches and teaches Yiddish and German literature, Jewish art, and the Holocaust. His book Jewish Primitivism came out in 2021 with Stanford University Press and won the 2022 book prize of the Modern Language Association for studies in Germanic languages and literatures. He is now researching a book on the role of monuments in Holocaust commemoration and literature.