Simon Dubnow Institute
for Jewish History and Culture at Leipzig University

Summer Semester 2016

Jewish Studies Today. Current Topical Themes in Research and Methodological Challenges


Lecturers: Professor Dr. Raphael Gross/Dr. Nicolas Berg

Research Colloquium

Time: Wednesdays, 5–7 pm (every other week)

Place: Simon Dubnow Institute, Goldschmidtstraße 28


The Knowledge of Places – Concepts of Experience in the Life Work of Simon Dubnow (1860–1941)

Simon Dubnow ranks among the most important Jewish historians in the modern era. He authored a 10-volume Wold History of the Jewish People (1925–1929), which defended the Jewish Diaspora as a valid pattern of living. He also developed fundamental methodological ideas in which he made clear that Jewish history could only be properly understood as a synthesis of the various different Jewries. Last not least, Dubnow's extensive memoirs, the Book of Life, comprise a rich and important personal source for understanding Jewish historical experience in his times. With his historiographical work, Dubnow espoused a universal-historical aim: Through a genuine historical and secular approach, he sought to make both the unity and diverse multiplicity of Jewish history comprehensible – over and beyond all political, linguistic and territorial borders and boundaries.

To mark the 75th death anniversary of Simon Dubnow in December 2016, the Research Colloquium of the Simon Dubnow Institute intends to honor the historian by means of a special introduction to his life and work, as seen from the vantage of the places where Dubnow lived and worked. These localities are brought into relation with his work, and vice versa: the theoretical concepts that Dubnow employed are given a new interpretation viewed through the lens of where those ideas came into being. Thus, from the matrix of the panorama of cities and metropolises where Dubnow resided and worked, springs forth his ideational legacy: the close nexus between patterns of living and forms of thought in the Jewish Diaspora. His theory of the »wandering centers«, of »Diaspora nationalism«, and his concept of autonomy appear in this light not merely to be historical-theoretical constructs, but rather constitute a vital part of collective Jewish experience in the nineteenth and early twentieth century.



27 April 2016

Nicolas Berg (Leipzig)

Mstislaw – Zweierlei Gelehrsamkeit


25 May 2016

Anne-Christin Saß (Berlin)

Berlin – Das Lebenswerk am Vorabend der Katastrophe


8 June 2016

Svetlana Natkovich (Leipzig)

Odessa – Between Commercial and Intellectual Avantgardes


22 June 2016

Anke Hilbrenner (München)

Sankt Petersburg – Als jüdischer »Externer« in der russländischen Hauptstadt


13 July 2016

Cecile E. Kuznitz (Annandale-on-Hudson, N. Y.)

Vilna – History and the Historical Imperative


Monday, 19 September 2016

Dan Diner (Jerusalem)

Zwischen Gesetz und Geschichte – Simon Dubnows ambige Modernität