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The University of Southampton
The Parkes Institute

PhD Roundtable Seminar

PhD Roundtable Seminar
18:00 - 19:30
19 January 2021

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

Event details

Part of the Parkes Research Seminars 20/21

Parkes Institute Doctoral Roundtable Seminar: negotiating identities between Jews and non-Jews

A round table discussion featuring current Parkes doctoral students, Verity Steele, Katie Power and Joseph Finlay, chaired by Dr George Gilbert. Round table participants will each present their doctoral research, followed by discussion, providing a glimpse into the fascinating, interdisciplinary research conducted by Parkes Institute PhD students.

Event details

Saving Jewish Souls for a Future Jewish State: Competition, compromise and cooperation in refugee rescue (Verity Steele)

Abstract: Brit Chalutzim Dati’im (acronym: Bachad) was a German-Jewish pioneering movement actively involved in training Jewish youth for Aliyah to Palestine / Israel between 1928 and 1962. The group was inevitably caught up in rescue efforts before, during and after the Second World War and had to relocate its headquarters from Berlin to London in late 1938. This presentation – focussing on one chapter within a wider PhD project - will explore some of the complexities of Bachad’s work during this period, highlighting some of the tensions between the ‘global’ and the ‘diasporic’, within the movement’s specifically religious expression of the Zionism.

Yiddish Theatre in Postwar London (Katie Power)

This paper will examine the role of Yiddish theatre in London during and after the Second World War, analysing the ways that London’s Yiddish community responded to not only struggles associated with active conflict but the loss and trauma that accompanied the Holocaust. Having supported Europe’s only active Yiddish theatre during the War, London experienced a post-war Yiddish cultural renaissance which aimed to launch London as the Western European hub of Yiddish theatre, and this paper will analyse the impact and results of this project.

Jewish responses to ‘race’ and racism in postwar Britain (Joseph Finlay)

British Jews occupied a complex place in discussions of ‘race’ in the postwar decades. As Commonwealth immigration became a major issue of national debate in the late 1950s and early 1960s, British Jewish organisations and individuals wrestled with questions of how Jews fitted in to the world of ‘race relations’, navigating categories of religion, ‘race’ and ethnicity. While most British Jews attained the status of ‘whiteness’ in this period, they faced ongoing questions of whether to risk that status by acting in solidarity with other minority groups and engaging in anti-racist campaigning. Looking at religious figures, communal leaders, Jewish MPs and activists I will explore some of the moments of activism and tension through which this debate took place.

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Speaker information

Verity Steele ,In 1987, Verity Steele, then a classically-trained musician, answered an advert in a German music magazine for a position as a violinist with the Kibbutz Chamber Orchestra of Israel! The opportunity this afforded was life-changing. Not only did she get to know a number of holocaust survivors and learned for the first time a little about the British Mandate, but the acceptance of a lift one night during the First Intifada brought to light (courtesy of the driver) the past existence of a Jewish ‘hachsharah’ (training) farm just across the fields from her childhood home near Thaxted in Essex! These many years later, having completed an MRes at the Institute of Historical Research, she is continuing her journey of discovery – now in the final year of a PhD under Professors Tony Kushner and Joachim Schloer.

Katie Power ,Is a doctoral student at the University of Southampton where she is researching Yiddish theatre in London during and after the Second World War. Her work makes extensive use of archival material and is dedicated to highlighting little-known individuals and plays prominent in London’s Yiddish community, and to demonstrating London’s significance in the wider historiography of Yiddish theatre.

Joseph Finlay ,Is a doctoral student at the University of Southampton. His research focuses on Jewish identity and the concept of race in postwar Britain, considering the tensions and interplay between Jewish and non-Jewish communities.

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