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Biographies and Politics 2019 : Biographies and Politics: Involvement of Jews and Activists of Jewish Origin in Leftist Movements in 19th and 20th Century Poland


When Dec 1, 2019 - Dec 2, 2019
Where POLIN Museum
Submission Deadline May 31, 2019
Categories    history   polish-jewish studies   biographies   politics

Call For Papers

To explore the different paths which led Jewish individuals to engage in leftist parties and organizations, we suggest approaching the topic from a biographical perspective. We thus invite scholars to present their findings on the formation of Jewish political identities based on biographical sources, especially ego-documents like diaries, personal letters, memoirs or oral testimonies.

Possible questions to be addressed might be:

- Was being Jewish an important factor in choosing a specific political path?
- Which other factors led Jews and people of Jewish origin to affiliate with a
particular political group?
- How did their leftist involvement influence their attitude towards imperial
settings, occupying powers, internationalist movements, as well as Poland and
Polish identity?
- How did they assess their leftist engagement later in their lives?

Proposed issues:

Biographies: individual and collective paths of Jewish leftists, circumstances of social and political involvement in leftist movements and organizations, self-perceptions, alternatives to leftist engagement, entangled ideologies (e.g. leftists Zionists), generational transmission of ideologies;

Methodologies: biographical approach, gender history, oral history, and others;

Ideologies: attractive leftists ideas for Polish Jews (socialism, communism, labor Zionism etc.);

Historical culture and politics of history: Perceptions and instrumentalizations of “Jewish” leftist biographies.

The conference is jointly organized by the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews and the Aleksander Brückner Center for Polish Studies, the Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies of the University of Oxford, and the University College London.

The conference is organized within the Global Education Outreach Program.

The conference was made possible thanks to the support of Taube Philanthropies, the William K. Bowes, Jr. Foundation, and the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland.

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