Roundtable Discussion on the Materiality of Jewish Culture with Aleksandra Buncic, Nathan Mastnjack, David Sclar, and Jason Lustig

Listen to a roundtable discussion on the materiality of Jewish culture with B Buncic, David Sclar, Nathan Mastnjack, and Jason Lustig, who in 2018-19 have been Harry Starr Fellows in Judaica at Harvard’s Center for Jewish Studies. The theme this year has been the history of the Jewish book, and we come together to discuss why books matter in Jewish culture and why we should look at the material objects, writing platforms, and physical form in addition to the contents that they contain.

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Could It Happen Here? Fascism and Nazism in America with Steve Ross

Could fascists really have taken power in the US during the 1930s? It’s not just the stuff of fiction, as in “The Man in the High Castle” and The Plot Against America. In Steve Ross’ book Hitler in Los Angeles: How Jews Foiled Nazi Plots Against Hollywood and America, we learn about the thrilling (and terrifying) history of how Nazis and fascists tried to establish a foothold on the west coast and the efforts of a handful of spies to try to take them down. In this episode, Steve Ross joins us to talk about his book and the history of fascist and pro-Nazi groups in LA, the real threat that fascism posed in the United States in the 1930s and 1940s, and what it teaches us, unfortunately, about our present moment.

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The Kishinev Pogrom with Steven Zipperstein

Steven Zipperstein discusses the Kishinev pogrom and its afterlife in modern Jewish history and memory: the tremendous influence of Kishinev on how Jews have seen the world, the dangers of misinformation and propaganda, and how one event can shape a generation. Ultimately, the pogrom highlights how and why history matters: how the Kishinev pogrom has become so influential in modern Jewish history, and also the tension between the public memory of the pogrom and the actual historical events themselves. Today, we’re in an age when actual facts and details do matter, but the Kishinev pogrom shows the power of myth and memory too.

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Holocaust Memory and the Digital Age with Jeffrey Shandler

Jeffrey Shandler joins us to talk about Holocaust Memory in the Digital Age: Survivors’ Stories and Memory Practices: How Holocaust memory and memorialization is changing in the digital age, the history and meaning of testimony and the Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive, and what the future holds in store for these memory practices.

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Modern Jewish Thought with Samuel Moyn and Eugene Sheppard

Samuel Moyn and Eugene Sheppard join us to talk about the expansive vision of what constitutes modern Jewish thought that they are exploring through the various books in the multi-volume book series Brandeis Library of Modern Jewish Thought, published by Brandeis University Press. Listen in for our conversation about how the series came together, what they have tried to achieve with it, and what it means to push the boundaries of modern Jewish thought.

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Colonialism and the Jews with Lisa Moses Leff, Ethan Katz, and Maud Mandel

Lisa Moses Leff, Ethan Katz, and Maud Mandel discuss “Colonialism and the Jews,” an volume of essays from a 2014 conference on the subject. We talk about the place of Jews in the history of colonialism, the role of empire in the varied Jewish experiences of modernity, how examining these topics helps us to rethink modern Jewish history, and the question of Zionism and colonialism.

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Cafes and Modern Jewish Culture with Shachar Pinsker

Shachar Pinsker discusses his book A Rich Brew: How Cafes Created Modern Jewish Culture and the ways in which cafes provide a window into understanding modern Jewish culture and modernity: What it means for cafes to be sites of the production of Jewish culture, how cafes sold not just coffee but also a concept of modernity, and the transformation of cafes and Jewish culture.

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A New History of Hasidism with David Biale

David Biale discusses Hasidism: A New History, an important and invaluable history of Hasidism from its origins in the 18th century until the present. We discuss Hasidism and why it matters: Why it was so significant in Europe before the Holocaust and why it remains relevant, what’s at stake in declaring it a “modern” movement, and how and why Hasidism helps us understand the currents of modern Jewish history and the modern world at large.

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