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Nancy Sinkoff Lecture

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This International Women's Day, please join us for a lecture by Dr. Nancy Sinkoff followed by a panel discussion with UD Faculty from History, Jewish Studies, and Women and Gender Studies.

Monday, March 8th at 7:00 p.m. on Zoom

"𝐆𝐞𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐫 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐞 (𝐃𝐢𝐬)𝐂𝐨𝐧𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐮𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐞𝐬 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐄𝐮𝐫𝐨𝐩𝐞𝐚𝐧 𝐉𝐞𝐰𝐢𝐬𝐡 𝐄𝐧𝐥𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭𝐞𝐧𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭: 𝐇𝐚𝐧𝐧𝐚𝐡 𝐀𝐫𝐞𝐧𝐝𝐭, 𝐋𝐮𝐜𝐲 𝐒. 𝐃𝐚𝐰𝐢𝐝𝐨𝐰𝐢𝐜𝐳, 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐍𝐞𝐰 𝐘𝐨𝐫𝐤 𝐈𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐥𝐥𝐞𝐜𝐭𝐮𝐚𝐥𝐬”

 

The image of the New York intellectuals, the Jewish public intellectuals who from their 1930s-nurtured anti-Stalinism became Cold Warriors in the 1950s and neoconservatives in the 1970s, is decidedly male. Think Daniel Bell, Irving Kristol, Lionel Trilling, Norman Podhoretz, and Nathan Glazer, among others. In "Arguing the World," a 1998 film documentary on the New York Intellectuals, Diana Trilling's lone female voice made it clear that women in the group were considered only as objects of sexual desire and conquest. Yet one woman, the German-Jewish philosopher, Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) is regularly invoked as a member of the group in its prewar heyday. Years later, another woman, Lucy S. Dawidowicz (1915-1990), the historian of Eastern European Jewry and of the Holocaust, became part of the group as it shifted politically toward the right and articulated a commitment to Jewish identity and survival.

 

This lecture will juxtapose the lives of Arendt and Dawidowicz as two sides of a deep fissure that characterized the encounter of Ashkenazic Jewry with the modern world. The Ashkenazic Jewish intelligentsia (maskilim) struggled with the appropriate balance between the values of universalism and Jewish particularism from the very beginning of the movement in late eighteenth century Prussia. I contend that Arendt's and Dawidowicz's divergent interpretations of Jewish communal behavior and politics during the Holocaust in their famous books, Eichmann in Jerusalem and The War Against the Jews: 1933-1945, respectively, represent a continuity with earlier Enlightenment debates about how to balance Jewish identity with full participation in European society. By putting gender into the scholarship on the New York intellectuals, I complicate the neat linear line frequently drawn of the immigrant radical sons burned by the "God That Failed" who turned rightward politically and back to ethnicity. Instead, it will root the history of the New York intellectuals, which has heretofore been seen as a uniquely American phenomenon, in the larger narrative of the modernization of Ashkenazic Jewry. Moreover, it will give voice to the female experience within that narrative.

 

Nancy Sinkoff is a professor of Jewish Studies and History, as well as the Academic Director of the Allen and Joan Bildner Center for the Study of Jewish Life at Rutgers University. Her specialties are early modern and modern Jewish history and intellectual and Eastern European history. Nancy just published a biography of Lucy Dawidowicz, one of the first (and female) historians of the Holocaust, and an important New York intellectual. Nancy’s book is From Left to Right: Lucy S. Dawidowicz, the New York Intellectuals, and the Politics of Jewish History.

This event is free and open to the public. Co-sponsored by University of Delaware’s Jewish Studies Program, European Studies Program, Department of History, Department of Women and Gender Studies, and Department of Philosophy.

 

Please RSVP via this Google form. Information about the Zoom room will be provided via e-mail prior to the event.

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This International Women's Day, Monday, March 8th at 7:00 p.m.  please join us for a lecture by Dr. Nancy Sinkoff followed by a panel discussion with UD Faculty from History, Jewish Studies, and Women and Gender Studies.

1/25/2021
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