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The University of Southampton
The Parkes Institute

'Ahad Ha'am and the Jewish Future' Seminar

5 January 2016
Lecture Theatre C Avenue Campus University of Southampton SO17 1BF

For more information regarding this seminar, please email Parkes Institute at .

Event details

Part of the Parkes Research Seminar Series 2015/2016

Ahad H'am - Words of Fire

Ahad Ha'am ('One of the People', the pen name of Asher Ginsberg, 1856-1927) is remembered as 'the father of cultural Zionism', an epithet that tends to consign him to the past and locate him solely in relation to the other  political or Herzlian  kind of Zionism. I am interested in taking him out of his historical box and reading him as a resource for thinking about the Jewish future. This entails finding the right angle from which to approach his essays. It is tempting to see him as an exponent of cultural nationalism, a man with an ideology that he applies to the Jewish case. I see it the other way round: he begins in Judaism – from Judaism he takes his bearings – and then deploys a lexicon that will allow him to articulate what he wants to say about the revival of Judaism in his day. Bringing him forward, as it were, I shall discuss the bearing his thought might have on such contemporary issues as Jewish life in the Diaspora, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, secularism and the Jewish Renewal Movement in Israel. Ultimately, Ahad Ha'am invites us to reconsider the very nature of Judaism and the idea of the people of whom he was one.

Speaker information

Dr Brian Klug , University of Oxford. Brian Klug (B.A. and M.A. in Philosophy, University of London, Ph.D. in Social Thought, University of Chicago) is Senior Research Fellow in Philosophy at St. Benet’s Hall, Oxford; member of the faculty of philosophy at the University of Oxford; Honorary Fellow, Parkes Institute for the Study of Jewish/non-Jewish Relations, University of Southampton; and Fellow of the College of Arts & Sciences, Saint Xavier University, Chicago. He has published extensively on Jewish identity, antisemitism, Islamophobia, race and related topics. His latest book, Words of Fire: Selected Essays of Ahad Ha'am (Notting Hill Editions), was published in September 2015. Other books include: Being Jewish and Doing Justice: Bringing Argument to Life (Vallentine Mitchell, 2011) and Offence: The Jewish Case (Seagull Books, 2009). He co-edited A Time to Speak Out: Independent Jewish Voices on Israel, Zionism and Jewish Identity (Verso, 2008). Recent chapters in books include 'Moses: The Significant Other', in Dynamics of Difference: Christianity and Alterity (Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2015) and 'Interrogating "new antisemitism"', in Racialization and Religion: Race, Culture and Difference in the Study of Antisemitism and Islamophobia (Routledge, 2014). He is Associate Editor of the journal Patterns of Prejudice.

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