»Empire – Community – Self Eastern European Jewry between Imperial Powers «
Annual International Conference of the Dubnow Institute
Following the three partitions of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (1772, 1793, and 1795), the Eastern European Jewish community found itself torn between three expanding imperial powers – the Russian Empire, Habsburg Austria, and the Prussian Kingdom. A community with common religious, economic, and administrative background was arbitrarily divided, and subjected to different systems of governance, culture, and population management. This situation created »laboratory conditions« for the examination of relationships between hegemony and minority, state and community, sovereign power and subject, law, self-perceptions and the practice of everyday life. In all three political frameworks, Jews functioned as a target population upon which new technologies of power were tested and imposed. On the one hand, they played a pivotal role as a foil in the formation of consciousness of the dominant groups of population; on the other, they were shaped both as community and individuals by the distinct set of cultural, administrative, and economic conditions created by each political system. The aim of the conference is to pinpoint the network of interactions between the imperial powers and the evolving patterns of Jewish communal and individual identification. Papers presented in it seek to examine one or several sides in the triangle of relations between power, community, and individuals in the Eastern and Central European Jewish context.
4th to 5th July 2016