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The University of Southampton
The Parkes Institute

The Ian and Mildred Karten Memorial Lecture 2022 Event

Book cover
18:00 - 19:30
15 March 2022
Online Event.

For more information regarding this event, please email Clodagh Owens at .

Event details

The Ian and Mildred Karten Memorial Lecture is part of the Parkes Institute annual lecture series and has been named to honour the generosity and interest shown by Ian and Mildred in the Parkes Institute.

Town Fools, Madmen, and Possessed Women: The Mentally Ill in Jewish Eastern Europe

East European Jewry was no more or less neurodiverse than any other human community. Then why did so many people in the early twentieth century—both Jews and non-Jews—take it for granted that Jews were more prone to madness and neurosis than their neighbors? And what was traditional Jewish society’s understanding of mental illness and cognitive disorders? We will examine a variety of historical sources in an attempt to gain a better understanding of the role of mentally ill people in Jewish society in pre-Holocaust Eastern Europe.

Professor Natan Meir

Speaker information

Professor Natan M. Meir , Portland University, is the Lorry I. Lokey Professor of Judaic Studies in the Harold Schnitzer Family Program in Judaic Studies at Portland State University. A scholar of the social, cultural, and religious history of East European Jewry, he is the author of Kiev, Jewish Metropolis: A History, 1859-1914 (2010) and Stepchildren of the Shtetl: The Destitute, Disabled, and Mad of Jewish Eastern Europe, 1800-1939 (2020). He also serves as a museum consultant and leads study tours of Eastern Europe with Ayelet Tours.

Dr Claire Le Foll , is the Director of the Parkes Institute and a Associate Professor of East European Jewish History and Culture and will chair this event.

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