HomeThe European Left and the Jewish question

The European Left and the Jewish question

Zionism, anti-semitism and the Arab-Israeli conflict (1789-1989)

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Published on Tuesday, June 19, 2018 by Céline Guilleux

Summary

The seminar on contemporary history of the Department of social and economic sciences of Sapienza University of Rome will organize a conference that will take place from 13 to 14 December 2018 in Rome titled: “The European Left and the Jewish question: Zionism, anti-Semitism and the Arab-Israeli conflict”. The goal is to explore the relationship between the Left and Jews in the two hundred years’ history of the political left, considering three major themes: the Jewish question as seen by left-wing authors; Anti-Semitism and its representations in left-wing culture; The Arab-Israeli conflict as a node of comparison between the Left and the Jewish question.

Announcement

Rome, December 13-14 2018

Argument

The subject: Anyone wishing to investigate the relationship between the Jewish world and the European political Left, would encounter the problem of a limited bibliography on the subject. In addition to the classical texts dedicated to Jewish history or to the history of the socialist and communist political parties, one can find volumes on specific aspects of the Jewish condition in contemporary history such as the emancipation, assimilation, Zionism, anti-Semitism or racism. Regarding the political Left, as well as more general studies, many essays have been published on the specific topics of Socialism and Communism. Nevertheless, there are few if any studies that analyse the relationship between the political cultures of the Left and Jews.

The State of the Art: In recent years, many European historians have begun to wonder about the relationship between the Left and Jews in the last two hundred years. They have attempted to understand how the Left, in its different expressions, has dealt with the Jewish Question during the two centuries that separate the French Revolution and the birth of modern politics from our time. The subject has taken various shapes in different European countries; at the same time – importantly – we can say that in addition to the peculiarities of each country’s political left wings, they have all contributed to and drawn from a common repertoire of representations and meanings, of shared trends, inherited from the past or formed by new cultural and political relationships.

Research in recent years had focused on the movements and political parties of the European left; the formations born within the history of the workers’ movement, foremost being socialists, social democrats and communists: leading groups, militant politicians, intellectuals and opinion-makers. The Jewish question presents itself in a twofold sense: as a modern manifestation of the anti-Semitism that formed part of European history from the mid-eighteenth century until more recently, and as an expression of Zionism and the Arab-Israeli conflict that has been interpreted, analysed and commented by the European left.

The proposal: the seminar on contemporary history of the Department of social and economic sciences of Sapienza University of Rome will organize a conference that will take place from 13 to 14 December 2018 in Rome titled: “The European Left and the Jewish question: Zionism, anti-Semitism and the Arab-Israeli conflict”. The goal is to explore the relationship between the Left and Jews in the two hundred years’ history of the political left, considering three major themes.

Theme 1: The Jewish question as seen by left-wing authors.

The question touches the most important contributions of the history of socialist political thought from the early nineteenth century until recently, including the different expressions of the socialist and communist left regarding the presence and role of Jews in the contemporary world.

Theme 2: Anti-Semitism and its representations in left-wing culture.

In this case, it is important to underline how the movements and the parties of the European left have represented the main manifestations of anti-Semitism to their electors, their militants and general public opinion. Particular attention will be given to the contribution of historians; the analyses of philosophers; the study of literary texts in various genres (novels, children's literature, graphic novels); the role of cinema and mass media.

Theme 3: The Arab-Israeli conflict as a node of comparison between the Left and the Jewish question.

Here, the intention is not to restate or reformulate the history of wars between Israel and the Arab states, or the conflict with the Palestinians, but to understand if and how the Arab-Israeli conflict has influenced the relations between the Left and Jews. It is well known, in fact, that following the 1967 war, relations between the Left and Jews underwent a transformation and since then, the reflection on anti-Zionism has provoked a debate on the definition and forms of anti-Semitism.

Submission guidelines

The call for papers is open to scholars of different disciplinary training. Candidates must send

by July 15, 2018

a proposal of participation (3000 characters) indicating sources and bibliography an a curriculum vitae with a list of publications, to: leftandjewscall2018@gmail.com

Scientific committee

  • Bianca Maria Dematteis,
  • Robert S.C. Gordon,
  • Marcello Musté,
  • Andrea Pinazzi,
  • Gregorio Sorgonà,
  • Alessandra Tarquini,
  • Mario Toscano,
  • Francesco Saverio Trincia.

Places

  • Sapienza University of Rome - piazzale Aldo Moro 4
    Rome, Italian Republic (00185)

Date(s)

  • Sunday, July 15, 2018

Keywords

  • left, socialism, communism, zionism, Israel, anti-semitism, conflict, marxism, Europe, intellectual

Contact(s)

  • Alessandra Tarquini
    courriel : alessandra [dot] tarquini [at] uniroma1 [dot] it

Information source

  • Alessandra Tarquini
    courriel : alessandra [dot] tarquini [at] uniroma1 [dot] it

To cite this announcement

« The European Left and the Jewish question », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Tuesday, June 19, 2018, https://calenda.org/444068

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