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Just How Jewish is Jewish History?

Moshe Rosman to discuss issues facing Jewish scholars of Jewish history

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February 23, 2010 | by Wendy Leopold
EVANSTON, Ill. --- Moshe Rosman will explore the question "How Jewish is Jewish History?" when he delivers the Alan Harris Memorial Lecture Monday, March 1, at Northwestern University.

The lecture will be held at 7 p.m. in the Wildcat Room 101 B of Norris University Center, 1999 Campus Drive, Evanston. It is free and open to the public.

Professor of Jewish History at Israel's Bar Ilan University, Rosman is a 2009 winner of the prestigious National Jewish Book Award for "Rethinking European Jewish History," a book he co-wrote with Jeremy Cohen. He also is the author of "How Jewish is Jewish History? Jewish Metahistories and the Jewish Historical Experience."

In "How Jewish is Jewish History" and his upcoming lecture of the same title, Rosman considers the questions that Jewish historians must confront if their work is to be taken seriously by mainstream intellectuals, or educated Jews interested in understanding their own cultural and historical past.

Among the questions he will consider are: Can we speak of a continuous, coherent Jewish people with a distinct culture and history in light of postmodernist thought? How does gender transform the Jewish historical narrative? How does Jewish history fit into the multicultural world?

Currently Goldsmith Visiting Professor at Yale University, Rosman has conducted extensive archival research in Eastern Europe and specializes in integrating Jewish, Polish and other sources. He is among the world's leading scholars working in the early modern period (1500 to 1800) of Jewish history in Poland.

The Harris Memorial Lecture is sponsored by the Crown Family Center for Jewish Studies and the Chabraja Center for Historical Studies in Northwestern's Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences.

For further information about the event, call (847) 491-2612 or visit the Jewish studies Web site at http://www.wcas.northwestern.edu/jewish-studies/.