Conference Theme

The dramatic modern processes of secularization, urbanization and immigration have made Jewish traditions an object of nostalgia, rejection, national pride, and ethnographic research, or various mixtures of these attitudes and practices. From the days of the Haskala movement to today, playwrights, theatre and film directors and other artists have been fascinated by Jewish history, folklore, rituals and tropes. Focusing on Eastern European Jewish culture, but without excluding other Jewish traditions, this conference aims to ask: How are lost or disappearing traditions being staged and re-imagined? What happens when past events and practices return as constructed memories, fantasies or gestures? How do specific art media shape these cultural translations?

In today’s highly departmentalized world, film, theatre, performance and literature are rarely studied together. The conference aims to discuss these various media together, focusing on their common tendency to display, re-imagine and perform what may belong to the past but still haunts the present, and to bring into dialogue scholars of various cultures (Yiddish, Hebrew, German, and Polish) to examine Jewish culture in the broader contexts of European and American culture, in order to facilitate an interdisciplinary discussion not limited to the field of Jewish Studies.

Time and place

Monday-Tuesday, 26-27 January 2015,Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies, Clarendon Institute Building, Oxford

Travel and accommodation

Travel expenses for speakers will be reimbursed up to certain limits (depending on location). Accommodation in Oxford will be provided to conference participants for the duration of the conference.


Researchers from all knowledge areas are invited to submit a proposal for their papers. Please send an abstract of 300-500 words together with a short CV to Zehavit Stern: no later than October 1st. Please include your contact information and specify the location from which you would be traveling to the conference. All proposals are subject to a review process.