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The University of Southampton
The Parkes Institute

Borders, Ports and Pestilence: Managing Disease during the Age of Jewish Mass Migration: Parkes Institute Seminar Series 20/21 Seminar

8 December 2020
Online Event

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

Event details

Part Of the Parkes Institute Seminar Series 2020-21- All Welcome.


1892 was a crisis year for Europe and its transatlantic neighbours. Cholera was once again on the march, stretching its deadly grip from Russia to North America, presumed to be carried lethally on the wave of Jewish mass migration away from Eastern and Central Europe. Finding ways to regulate the movement of Jews overland and at sea within such a climate became a critical, trans-national project. The fragility of borders as sites of transgressive, clandestine activity took on a new and heightened significance. Similarly, the ports doted along the fringes of Northern Europe now became spaces characterised by their vulnerability to infiltration and infection. At the heart of attempts to secure and shield these spaces, however, was the image of the ‘diseased’ Jew. As this paper will suggest, this was an image which made anew an age-old Judophobic trope. Under the shadow of the epidemic, the figure of ‘the Jew’ as a troubled and troublesome wanderer took on a new significance, marrying anxiety over human mobility with germ mobility, mysophobia with antisemitism.


Hannah Ewence is Senior Lecturer in Modern History at the University of Chester, and an Honorary Fellow of the Parkes Institute for Jewish/non-Jewish Relations at the University of Southampton. She is the author of The Alien Jew in the British Imagination: Space, Mobility and Territoriality (2019) and the co-editor of three further volumes in the fields of Jewish Studies and Minority History.

Further details of Hannah’s latest publication (from which the research for this paper is drawn), can be found here

Please register for this event on the above link. We will send you joining instructions on the day of the event.

This Event will be chaired by Prof. Tony Kushner

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