Himel Family Yiddish Lecture Series
Pearl and Jack Mandel Lecture in Jewish Studies
Co-sponsored by the Al and Malka Green Fund in Yiddish Studies
Kenneth Moss (University of Chicago)
Kultur un Tsukunftlozikayt in di 1930ike Yorn
[Lecture, texts, and discussion in Yiddish]: 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 workshop explores how Yiddishist writers and poets 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?
Speaker Bio: 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 autumn 2023). From 2014 to 2020, he coedited Jewish Social Studies. Having lived for many years in the city where Shaul Tshernikhovski unwittingly published his first poem, he now lives in the city where the L. M. Shteyn Farlag published some especially lovely editions of Yiddish books.
This event will be delivered in-person in JHB616 (170 St. George Street) and accessible by ZOOM on Tuesday, October 3, 2023 at 12:30 PM.