News and Events
December 1-2 2014
10th Lavy international conference:
“The Polish Jewish Condition? Polish Jewish Social Thought and the Challenge of the 1930s.”
The Lavy Colloquium, made possible by the generosity of the late Dr. Norm Lavy and Ms. Marion Lavy, is an annual international conference that bring some dozen scholars from the US and abroad together with faculty and students from Johns Hopkins to discuss new research and perspectives on a key topic in Jewish studies. This year’s conference turns to the rich field of research on Polish Jewish social and political thought. It calls for papers on efforts by men and women of the 1930s to make sense of what was becoming of Polish Jewry in the course of that decade -- to make social-theoretical sense, in real time, of the wrenching dislocations and far-reaching transformations that seemed to be befalling Polish Jewry and that seemed, at least to many, to be fundamentally new phenomena rooted in equally new regional and global developments. Our point of departure is the sense that many Polish Jewish intellectuals, scholars, activists, and ordinary people were not merely exponents of this or that ready-made ideology, but rather wrestled just as we now do with whether the wrenching dislocations they were experiencing in the 1930s were merely a congeries of unrelated developments or a “condition” in the making; whether the situation was transient or long-term; how the relationship between political, economic, and cultural factors or between factors specific to the Jewish situation and more global factors should be explained; and how one might begin to responsibly map out what sort of future Polish Jewry could (have) expect(ed) in the near term, the medium term, the long term. Participants are thus specifically invited to present papers not on the all-too-familiar competing party programmes and ideologies with their ready answers for any new development, but rather on intellectually serious (i.e. conceptually open, exploratory, and perhaps self-critical, if inevitably blinkered and culturally-framed) efforts to grapple with these questions, wherever such efforts were to be found in and around Polish Jewry.
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