Jewish Politics Between Minorityhood and Triage in Interwar Poland


Friday, November 5, 2021, 12:00pm to 1:00pm


Zoom (registration required)

Jews in Modern Europe Seminar
Jewish Politics Between Minorityhood and Triage in Interwar Poland

Speaker: Kenneth Moss, Harriet and Ulrich E. Meyer Professor of Jewish History and the College, University of Chicago
Chair: Derek J. Penslar, William Lee Frost Professor of Jewish History, Harvard University; Resident Faculty & Seminar Chair, Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University


The mid-1920s brought stability to Poland and sped the assimilation of its three million Jews. But already in the late 1920s, many began to believe that there was little prospect of a decent future for Europe’s largest Jewish community, an outlook fueled by newly confident antisemitism and the flourishing of political pathologies across liberal Europe.

Looking beyond familiar histories of Zionism and Diasporism, Kenneth Moss will discuss how analysts in both movements groped toward new understandings of the powers and trajectories of illiberal politics and the prospects of “minorityhood.” As some refocused on shoring up the besieged Jewish subject, others were driven toward a triage politics marked by post-ideological relations to Palestine and new forms of reasoning about communal and individual salvageability.

This lecture recaptures a world of Jewish thought and praxis defined less by ideological certainties than by felt danger and acknowledged incapacity. Its history is part of the unfinished global history of progressivism’s halting effort to comprehend the unexpected powers of enmity-politics and of the special predicaments facing minority communities and individuals living in the shadow thereof.

Note: This event requires registration. Please RSVP here.