Monthly Archives: March 2019

7 April: Brendan McGeever, The Bolsheviks and antisemitism in the Russian Revolution

Based on archival materials gathered in Ukraine, Russia and the United States, this talk will explore the significance of antisemitism in the Russian Revolution. In doing so, it will examine how class politics could sometimes overlap with antisemitism, not just on the right, as is well known, but on the left as well, and in the Red Army in particular. In addition, the lecture will explore the as-yet untold history of how the Bolsheviks responded to the antisemitism that emerged within their own ranks. By bringing into focus the forms of individual and collective agency that actualised the Soviet response to antisemitism, the talk will challenge long-held assumptions about the Bolshevik record in this area.

Brendan McGeever is Lecturer in the Sociology of Racialization and Antisemitism at Birkbeck, University of London. He is the author of The Bolsheviks and Antisemitism in the Russian Revolution (Cambridge Univeristy Press, 2019). For the academic year 2017-2018, he was Acting Associate Director of the Pears Institute for the study of Antisemitism at Birkbeck, University of London.

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10 March: Anne Perez, Holy fathers, virtuous wives, and apostate sons: Zionism, conversion, and the question of who is a Jew

This talk will explore the way Zionists grappled with the issue of conversion to and from Judaism during the formative years of the Zionist movement and the early state of Israel.  What role did conversion play in developing a definition of Jewishness as it related to religion, ethnicity, and after the establishment of Israel, citizenship?  Zionists did not have a uniform answer to this question, and we will examine some key examples and junctures where this enduring question came to the fore in dramatic ways.

Anne Perez earned her PhD in History from the University of California, Davis in 2018, during which she was a doctoral fellow of both the Posen Foundation and Israel Institute.  While her dissertation focused on conversion and the Zionist movement, her wider research interests deal with the intersections of religion and nationalism especially in contexts of conflict and inequality.  Her article “Apostasy of a Prince: Hans Herzl and the Boundaries of Jewish Nationalism” has been published in the Association for Jewish Studies Review.  She currently resides outside Edinburgh.

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Filed under 5779 / 2018-19 Programme