Simon Dubnow Institute
for Jewish History and Culture at Leipzig University

Courses at the Dubnow Institute, Winter Semester 2018/19

Module 03-HIS-0410 »European History of the Jews«

This module entails one seminar and two tutorials, which can be combined as appropriate (one seminar and tutorial 1 or tutorial 2; altogether 4 semester hours).

 

The two courses comprise the module »European History of the Jews« (03-HIS-0410) in the MA program »Medieval and Modern History« in the Department of History. This module antails one seminar and two tutorials, which can be combined as appropriate from the available seminars and tutorials, comprising altogether 4 semester hours. The courses are open to students registered in the MA program »European Studies« of the Institute for Cultural Studies, the Department of Book Studies, and (upon consultation) the Faculty of Law at Leipzig University. The courses moreover form part of the offer for students in the MA program »History and Politics of the Twentieth Century« at the Friedrich Schiller University, Jena.

 

Political Theological Thought in America – Horace Kallen and Mordecai Kaplan

 

Instructor: Imanuel Clemens Schmidt, M.A.

Seminar

Time: Tuesday, 11:15 – 12:45 (2 SWS)

Venue: Leibniz Institute for Jewish History and Culture – Simon Dubnow, Goldschmidtstr. 28

First Session: Monday, 16 October 2018

 

Description: This reading course focuses on the writings of two significant Jewish American thinkers of the twentieth century. The social philosopher Horace M. Kallen (1882–1974) developed the concept of cultural pluralism during World War One, which he then defined as the American civil religion during the 1950s. There are numerous analogies to Kallen to be found in the work of the rabbi and philosopher Mordecai M. Kaplan (1881–1983), who founded the “Reconstructionist” movement and described Judaism as a religious civilization in a constant state of flux. This seminar will examine the ideas of Kallen and Kaplan in relation to one another and to the respective contexts of their origin, for example within the journal Menorah, as well as with regard to the various eras of Jewish American history. Kallen’s writings are particularly useful for tracing the developments in Jewish self-understanding and experiential contexts on the basis of continuities and transformations in his concept of pluralism up until the early 1970s. Last but not least, the seminar will discuss the impact of the concept of political theology in Jewish American thought in the twentieth century by comparison to European traditions of thought.

 

Literature: Jacques Picard, Horace Kallen (1882–1974), Pragmatic Modernism, in: idem et al. (ed.), Makers of Jewish Modernity, Thinkers, Artists, Leaders, and the World They Made, Princeton, N.J./Oxford 2016, 220–232; Daniel Greene, art. »Pluralismus«, in: Enzyklopädie jüdischer Geschichte und Kultur, ed. by Dan Diner, vol. 4, Stuttgart/Weimar 2013, 567–572; Mel Scult, The Radical American Judaism of Mordecai M. Kaplan, Bloomington, Ind., 2014; Noam Pianko, Zionism and the Roads Not Taken, Rawidowicz, Kaplan, Kohn, Bloomington, Ind., 2010, 26–59 (about Kallen) and 95–133 (about Kaplan).

 

A course reader will be distributed.

 

Number of participants: limited to 25. As a prerequisite for credit, participants are required to read English texts and to prepare a paper for oral presentation to the seminar.

 

Available to students in the special pensioners' study program: no

 

International Law and Human Rights in Jewish History

 

Instructor: Dr. Rotem Giladi

Tutorial 1

Time (block seminar):

Mon, 22 October 2018, 15:15 – 18:45

Mon, 10 December 2018, 15:15 – 18:45

Fri, 14 December 2018, 13:15 – 16:45

Sat, 15 December /2018, 11:15 – 14:45

Mon, 07 January 2019, 15:15 – 18:45

Fri, 11 January 2019, 13:15 – 16:45

Sat, 12 January 2019, 11:15 – 14:45

Venue: Leibniz Institute for Jewish History and Culture – Simon Dubnow, Goldschmidtstr. 28

First Session: 22 October 2018

 

Description: This course explores the lives, work, and writings of Jewish international lawyers and human rights activists from the end of the 19th Century to the 1960s. Its starting point is the evident impact of Jewish scholars on modern international law and human rights. After all, international law was traditionally considered the »product of European Christian civilization«. Moreover, international law was something that was reserved, in theory and practice, for sovereign states alone. This begs additional questions: why would a stateless people display an interest in this liberal-cosmopolitan project? What promise of emancipation did they see in international treaties and organisations such as the League of Nations and the United Nations? And how have the Holocaust and the establishment of a Jewish state affected these perspectives?

 

The course is open to students of history, law, and political science. It requires, however, no prior knowledge in either field.

 

Literature: James Loeffler’s Rooted Cosmopolitans: Jews and Human Rights in the Twentieth Century (Yale University Press 2018) covers some persons, institutions, or events explored in this course. Students are required to read, for each class, a pre-assigned article or book chapter. Class work will be dedicated to close readings of pre-assigned primary sources: letters, memoranda etc. A course reader will be distributed in advance.

 

Number of participants: limited to 25. As a prerequisite for credit, participants are required to read and participate in the seminar in English.

 

Available to students in the special pensioners' study program: no

 

Jewish History within General History. On the Core Exhibition of the German Historical Museum

 

Instructors: Prof. Dr. Raphael Gross, Fritz Backhaus

Tutorial 2

Time (block seminar):

Fri, 2 November 2018, 10:00 – 17:00

Thur, 24 January 2019, 10:30 – 17:00

Fri, 25 January 2019, 10:30 – 14:00

Venue: Leibniz Institute for Jewish History and Culture – Simon Dubnow, Goldschmidtstr. 28

First Session: 2 November 2018

 

Description: The core exhibition of the German Historical Museum (DHM) presents German history from the Middle Ages up to the fall of the Berlin Wall. To date, Jewish German history has only formed a marginal aspect of this exhibition, limited especially to persecution under National Socialism. This seminar analyzes this current representation and discusses how Jewish history could be more appropriately presented as a part of general history in new exhibition concepts. As a museum with the stated mission of addressing history in its entirety and against the backdrop of the Holocaust, this aspect will also be presented in new ways in the future core exhibition. This seminar aims to discuss possible themes and objects, the use of media, and visual presentations in general that will have an impact on the preparation of the new exhibition.

 

Literature: Hans Ottomeyer/Hans-Jörg Czech (eds.), Deutsches Historisches Museum, Deutsche Geschichte in Bildern und Zeugnissen, Darmstadt 2015; Christoph Stölzl (ed.), Deutsches Historisches Museum, Ideen, Kontroversen, Perspektiven, Frankfurt a. M./Berlin 1988; Leonore Koschnick (ed.), Deutsches Historisches Museum Berlin. Prestel Museumsführer, München et al. 2014; Cilly Kugelmann, art. »Museen«, in: Enzyklopädie jüdischer Geschichte und Kultur, ed. by Dan Diner, vol. 4, Stuttgart/Weimar 2013, 274–279.

 

Number of participants: limited to 20. Prospective participants should be willing to hold a brief presentation, for which themes will be allotted in the introductory meeting on 2 November 2018.

 

Available to students in the special pensioners' study program: no

 

Registration: Pleace notice the central date of the Historical Seminar.

 

Assessment: Exam 90 min., preliminary examination: presentation (20 min.) with written preparation (4 weeks) in seminar

 

 

Bachelor of Arts History/Master of Arts Medieval and Modern History, 03-HIS-0312/03-HIS-0511

Basic Problems of Jewish and General History in the Modern Era

 

Linguistic Criticism as Historical Reflection in the Early Twentieth Century

 

Instructors: Dr. Nicolas Berg, Dr. Elisabeth Gallas

Colloquium

Time: Thursday, 17:15 – 18:45 (every other week)

Venue: Leibniz Institute for Jewish History and Culture – Simon Dubnow, Goldschmidtstr. 28

 

Description: This colloquium approaches linguistic criticism in a fundamental manner: In the early twentieth century, it formed a downright epistemic-sociological discipline at the intersection of political diagnoses of the times and general philosophical essay writing. As such, it had little to do with linguistic criticism in the narrower sense; rather, the focus was the production of a skeptical conception of history through recourse to language. This colloquium focuses on whether this constitutes an independent sub-genre of philosophy of history that manifested itself in linguistic thought. It moreover relates to the fact that the classical canon of modern linguistic criticism includes a notable amount of Jewish intellectuals, such as M. Lazarus, H. Steinthal, F. Mauthner, G. Landauer, K. Kraus, L. Wittgenstein, and W. Benjamin. The envisioned presentations explore the hypothesis that linguistic reflections were especially pertinent for Jewish scholars and intellectuals in the early twentieth century to capture in words the dangerous side of modernity and thereby simultaneously to investigate questions of belonging and self-understanding. This colloquium allows for reflection both on the individual arguments of early linguistic criticism in particular as well as generally on the retrospectively impressive faith in the ability to reform a precarious political present through thinking about the dangers of false language.

 

Available to students in the special pensioners' study program: yes

 

Information about presenters and time schedule are available here.

 

Registration: Pleace notice the central date of the Historical Seminar or send an email to Marion Hammer (secretariat)