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GERMAN-CFP-L  November 2008

GERMAN-CFP-L November 2008

Subject:

CFP: Marranism in the 19th and 20th centuries (Berlin) (12/1/08; 3/22-23/09)

From:

Megan McKinstry <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

German Studies CFP Forum <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 3 Nov 2008 14:46:00 -0600

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (214 lines)

>
>From: "Florian Krobb" <[log in to unmask]>
>Subject: CFP Marranism in the 19th and 20th centuries
>
>
>Call for papers
>
>Conference: Concealed faith or double identity?
>"Marranism" in the 19th and 20th centuries.
>Moses Mendelssohn Centre for European-Jewish Studies, Potsdam
>in cooperation with the Geschichtsforum Jägerstraße, Berlin
>22th and 23th March, 2009 - Berlin (Remise in 
>the former banking house of the Mendelssohn 
>family)
>
>During the Middle Ages and early modern times in 
>Spain and Portugal, Jewish people who
>were forced to deny their religion but kept 
>practising in secret were known as Marranos.
>These “secret Jews” were historically important 
>not only during the Inquisition, but also
>throughout the 19th century, when they came to 
>offer a projection space for German-Jewish
>bourgeois self-identification. Actually, the 
>attitude of a number of Jews at the time towards
>Judaism and their conversion to Christianity 
>remained manifestly ambiguous. For this reason,
>the so-called “New Christians" can be compared 
>from a sociological perspective, according to
>Julius H. Schoeps, to the forced baptisms of 
>Jews in Spain during the 15th century. The 
>wellknown
>Berlin Salons have been seen as an “exclusive 
>meeting place" where Conversos met
>with each other and also with other members of 
>society. From a wider perspective, it can be
>noted that during the 19th century a 
>German-Jewish upper class emerged consisting of 
>a select
>group of families who maintained personal and 
>business contacts amongst each other and
>tended to inter-marry within their group. A new 
>grouping at the edges or outside of the Jewish
>community formed itself around David Friedländer and the young Mendelssohns.
>Similarly, around 1830 there arose in France a 
>social tier of Jews who pursued comparable
>marriage policies. As Julius H. Schoeps and 
>Felix Gilbert have pointed out concerning the
>Mendelssohns in Germany, Phyllis Cohen-Albert 
>describes how an “ethnic solidarity” came
>about in France amongst others as a result of a 
>tendency towards endogamous alliances. Michael
>Graetz outlines how this elite of the 
>French-Jewish bourgeoisie stood at the edge of 
>Jewish
>society in the same way as their German 
>upper-class equivalents. In this regard we might 
>speak
>of a “form of modern Marranism" which was the 
>crucible for the coming together of the “Jews
>and the Universal” (Sylvie-Anne Goldberg) in 
>Germany and France in the 19th century. In the
>second half of the 19th century, historical 
>Marranism (i.e. the acculturation of Spanish 
>Jews to the
>Christian majority and the assimilation “of a 
>religious system that coexisted with a group’s
>original Jewish heritage without eclipsing it”, 
>Ariel Segal), abetted by the legal and societal
>emancipation, offered a great identification 
>potential for Jews. The German-Jewish bourgeoisie
>saw the Spanish late Middle Ages on the one hand 
>as a “time of cultural and scientific
>overachievement and confident coexistence with 
>the Christian majority”, whereas on the other
>hand the “persecution [...] by the Inquisition 
>and their martyrdom for their faith [...] was 
>seen as
>“part of the history of oppression of the Jewish people” (Florian Krobb).
>The Zionist movement had a substantially 
>different view. For example, Max Nordau saw
>Zionism as the only possible alternative to “new 
>Marranism”, which to him was an update of
>the Diaspora and thus constituted a further 
>impoverishment of the Jewish identity. However,
>the Marranos, the “concealed Jew”, remained a 
>figure that exerted a wide fascination - from
>Sigmund Freud through to Jacques Derrida, it 
>became loaded with subversive theological and 
>anthropological aspects. It became, in a way, a 
>projection surface - a symbol for the Diaspora
>and history of Jewish exile. One who saw the 
>Marranos in this way was Fritz Heymann, who
>in the 1930s described them as a culturally 
>self-contained group. Himself a life-long 
>outsider
>who was rootless on account of his flight from 
>Germany, in his “Chronicles of the Marranos”
>Heymann described a typical Jewish existence on 
>the “edge of society”. This Dialectic of the
>“Untrue true” (Jacques Derrida) stands in clear 
>opposition to the closed society, the “Dreams
>of Purity” and the integrity that Universalism 
>makes impossible. In this way, Edgar Morin has
>recently defended the “new Marranos”, who he 
>describes as Jewish-Gentiles. These, he says,
>are the just heirs of Montaigne and Spinoza. He 
>places them in opposition to the “re-Jewified
>Jews” who direct their hate towards other 
>nations. Daniel Bensaïd is interested in the
>“unduplicitous double identity” of the 
>“imaginary Marranos”, a concept on which Benny
>Levy has also placed particular emphasis in his 
>book “To be a Jew”, criticising the French
>discourse on Jewish identity. Even if considered 
>as a provocative solution to the “Jewish
>question” i.e. the “Jewish problem” (Bruno 
>Karsenti), modern Marranism remains, in spite of
>all attempts that have been made, controversial 
>from a philosophical and historicalsociological
>perspective.
>The planned international Conference will 
>investigate images and concepts of Marranism by
>discussing how they have been received through 
>history. To that end, proposals are solicited
>that pose methodological-theoretical questions 
>based on empirical research, and that deepen
>our historical-sociological characterisation of 
>Marranism, with a particular emphasis from the
>19th until today. The debate about Marranism as 
>a “typical Jewish Existence” should, as far as
>possible, make use of concrete examples and 
>place questions in their respective historical
>context.
>Papers might address (but need not to be limited 
>to) one or more of the following questions
>. What roles have concepts of Marranism played 
>in historical and sociological discussions,
>how are they helpful and what do we associate 
>with them? How can we better define this
>concept?
>. To what degree does research into Marranism in 
>the 19th century pose new questions
>about Jewry, offer new methodological approaches 
>and suggest new theoretical positions
>in the wider study of history and sociology?
>. Does study of Marranism deepen our 
>understanding of transnational perspectives and
>other Identity constructions, as well as our 
>concepts of religiosity and laity in the modern
>world?
>. What relevance do Gender studies have for the 
>questioning of Images, Concepts and the
>history of Marranism? Have idealized female 
>figures (such as the Berlin Salon Women of
>the early 19th century or the figure of Esther, 
>who Derrida called the first female
>Marranos, the archetype) served as Ideal Types 
>of Marranism? And which new forms of
>Jewish self-understanding and new female and 
>male identities have they contributed to
>modern life?
>. To what degree does Marranism, when seen as a 
>“typical Jewish existence on the edge of
>society”, offer an opportunity for research into 
>the history of Jewry in the 19th century,
>most particularly with respect to the controversial “German-Jewish symbiosis”?
>. Is it appropriate to play off Nordau’s and 
>Morin’s understandings of “New Marranism”
>against each other? Or is Marranism a concept, 
>or an experienced condition that cannot
>be taken for granted but must be investigated, a 
>process through which further theoretical
>and historical-empirical avenues for research can be opened up?
>We are very pleased that Deborah Hertz 
>(University of California, San Diego), Florian 
>Krobb
>(National University of Ireland, Maynooth) and 
>Julius H. Schoeps (Moses Mendelssohn
>Zentrum, Potsdam) have already agreed to talk at the conference.
>
>30-minute long papers from all areas of social 
>and cultural sciences are invited on issues 
>related
>to Marranism. We also welcome proposals for 
>pre-formed panels. Please submit your one-page
>proposal (2.000 signs max.) by Monday 1th 
>December, 2008 to: [log in to unmask], in Word,
>WordPerfect, or RTF formats, following this 
>order: author(s), affiliation, email address, 
>title of
>abstract, and body of abstract. Papers can be 
>given in either English or German. Notification 
>of
>acceptance will be sent to authors by the end of 
>December, 2008. We acknowledge receipt and
>answer to all paper proposals submitted. Authors 
>of selected papers will be invited to submit
>extended versions for possible publication.
>
>The conference is jointly organised by the Moses 
>Mendelssohn Centre for European-Jewish
>Studies, Potsdam, the Moses Mendelssohn 
>Foundation Erlangen, and the Geschichtsforum
>Jägerstraße, Berlin. Accommodation will be provided.
>Concept and organisation: Paola Ferruta, 
>Anna-Dorothea Ludewig, Hannah Lotte Lund.

*******************
The German Studies Call for Papers List
Editor: Stefani Engelstein
Assistant Editor:  Megan McKinstry
Sponsored by the University of Missouri
Info available at: http://www.missouri.edu/~graswww/resources/gerlistserv.html

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