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Writing Jews in Contemporary Britain

Event Date & Time: 11th September, 2013 12:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Location: Birkbeck, University of London, Bloomsbury, London WC1E 7HX
Speakers: Nathan Abrams, Bangor University; David Brauner, University of Reading; Bryan Cheyette, University of Reading; Ruth Gilbert, University of Winchester; James Jordan, University of Southampton; Nadia Valman, Queen Mary, University of London
Tags: Howard Jacobson, Vladimir Nabokov
Theme: Film/TV, Holocaust, Identity, Jewish Identities, Literature, Postcolonial Theory
Region / Country: UK, USA
Historical Period: 20th century, 21st century


The workshop’s emphasis is on new and innovative work being undertaken in the field and is intended to provide a forum for presenting and analysing the most recent critical and theoretical approaches to British-Jewish fiction, film, television drama and documentary.

Through the workshop we hope to explore, among other topics, the representation of ‘hyphenated’ British and Jewish identities; the recent history and current state of British-Jewish literary and visual culture; and the relation of that culture to the mainstream in Britain. The seminar will also consider British-Jewish culture in the light of postcolonial thinking and in comparison to the development of Jewish culture in the USA.



David Feldman, Pears Institute for the study of Antisemitism, Birkbeck, University of London

Session 1: Post-War British-Jewish Fiction

  • Nadia Valman  – Anglo-Jewish Literature and the Poetics of  Place
  • Ruth Gilbert  – ‘Genes, Shmenes’: Jew-ish Identities in Contemporary British Jewish Writing

Session 2: British-Jewish Film and Television

  • Nathan Abrams – Lolita’s Hidden Heart of Jewishness
  • James Jordan – Either/Neither or a Bit of Both: The Wandering View of British Television’s Image of the Jew

Session 3: British-Jewish Writing in Relation to Anglophone and World Jewish Literary Production

  • David Brauner – Fetishizing the Holocaust:Transatlantic Connections and Satirical Comedy in Howard Jacobson’s Kalooki Nights
  • Bryan Cheyette – British-Jewish Writing and the Challenge of Metaphorical Thinking

Closing Remarks

Axel Stähler, University of Kent and Sue Vice, University of Sheffield

Seminar co-convenors
David Feldman, Pears Institute for the study of Antisemitism
Axel Stähler, University of Kent
Sue Vice, University of Sheffield

Statement – 2

The Pears Institute explores the pattern of antisemitism both today and in the past. We connect research on antisemitism to the wider study of racialization and intolerance.

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