Events: 2014 & Prior

Israeli Musics; Beyond Nationalist Signifiers
Featuring Prof. Assaf Shelleg

Thursday, April 24, 2014 | 5:15 – 6:45 PM
Leah M. Smith Hall, Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center

Despite the proliferation of musical styles that stemmed from Israel’s ethnic proximities, its histories have been punctuated by political dates or “representations”. With nationalism as the main yardstick by which music is measured, narratives consisted of responses to Israeli wars or otherwise formulations whose easily identifiable musical citations rang the bells-and-whistles of the Zionist project. Examining the mechanism of Hebrew Culture in pre- and post-statehood years, Assaf Shelleg’s talk will separate national rhetoric from processes of cultural hybridization so as to disclose cases in which music seeps across political and aesthetic borders to undermine both nationalist edifices as well as categories such as folk, popular, and art musics.

Assaf Shelleg is the Schusterman Visiting Assistant Professor of Musicology and Jewish Studies in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia. He was previously the visiting Efroymson Scholar in the Jewish, Islamic & Near Eastern Languages and Cultures department at Washington University in St. Louis. Shelleg specializes in twentieth-century Jewish and Israeli art music and his research has been published in some of the leading journals in both musicology and Israel Studies. A trained pianist, he is also a regular musical contributor to Ha’aretz newspaper. Shelleg’s book, Jewish Contiguities and the Soundtrack of Israeli History, is scheduled to appear this fall with Oxford University Press.

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National narratives, truth telling and the role of the historian during national conflicts: the Palestinian-Israeli case
Featuring Prof. Hillel Cohen

Thursday, April 3, 2014 | 5:00 – 6:30 PM
3105 Susquehanna Hall, University of Maryland

Anyone who reads accounts of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict cannot but be intrigued by the contradictory narratives of events as recounted by historians from different perspectives. While it is hardly surprising that competing national movements produce competing narratives of conflicts between them, still it raises questions with regard to the motivations of historians to write in a certain way and to the role of the historian in times of conflict. In this lecture focusing on the historiography of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Prof. Hillel Cohen will unpack and analyze the tension between national loyalty and the historian’s commitment to the ‘truth’, and stress the role of the historian’s own sentiments and feelings in determining his or her perspective.

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Listen to the audio of this event below.

Was Harry Truman a Zionist – And Why It Matters Today
featuring John Judis, The New Republic

Wednesday, March 26, 2014 | 4:00 – 5:30 PM
1120 Susquehanna Hall, University of Maryland

Harry Truman is celebrated for recognizing the new state of Israel, but there is evidence he was never comfortable with the idea of a Jewish state, and would have preferred some sort of Arab-Jewish federation. Largely because of vigorous lobbying by American Zionists urging support for a Jewish state, Truman gave up on the idea of a federation, and the U.S. was the first country to recognize Israel. Judis argues that the campaign to persuade Truman anticipated today’s “Israel Lobby.”

John B. Judis is Senior Editor at the New Republic. His new book, Genesis: Truman, American Jews, and the Origins of the Arab/Israeli Conflict, deals with the role played by the American Zionist leadership in influencing US policy towards the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine and subsequent events.

This event is being co-sponsored by the Meyerhoff Center for Jewish Studies, the Gildenhorn Institute for Israel Studies, the Department of American Studies, and the Department of History.

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Listen to the audio of this event below.

Israel’s National Security – Challenges in a Disintegrating Middle East
featuring Professor Dan Schueftan, Georgetown University

Monday, March 10 2014 | 12:00 – 1:30 PM
2110 Taliaferro Building

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You can view a video of Prof. Schueftan’s presentation below.

The Jewish and Chinese National Movements:  Some Observations
featuring Dr. Aron Shai, Professor of East Asian Studies and founder of the Confucius Institute at Tel Aviv University, Israel

Tuesday, March 4, 2014 | 4:00-5:30 PM
Juan Ramon Jimenez Room, Stamp Student Union

Both China and Israel have experienced complex national movements over the past 100 years. Are they so different, or might there be more in common than first jumps to mind? This reflective presentation by Dr. Shai will offer insights into the similarities and differences between Israel’s and China’s concepts of nationalism, the rise of their leaders, the personalities of these personages, the processes they needed to undergo to transform their countries, related military matters, anti-colonial efforts, struggles toward liberation, new politics and solutions, all based on very deep historical, spiritual, and national heritages.

Co-sponsored by:
The Gildenhorn Institute for Israel Studies and the Confucius Institute, University of Maryland

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You can view a video of this event below:

My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel
featuring Ari Shavit

Wednesday, February 5, 2014 3:45-5:15 PM
Prince George’s Room, Stamp Student Union


An authoritative and deeply personal narrative history of the State of Israel, by one of the most influential journalists writing about the Middle East today

Not since Thomas L. Friedman’s groundbreaking From Beirut to Jerusalem has a book captured the essence and the beating heart of the Middle East as keenly and dynamically as My Promised Land. Facing unprecedented internal and external pressures, Israel today is at a moment of existential crisis. Ari Shavit draws on interviews, historical documents, private diaries, and letters, as well as his own family’s story, illuminating the pivotal moments of the Zionist century to tell a riveting narrative that is larger than the sum of its parts: both personal and national, both deeply human and of profound historical dimension.

Ari Shavit is a leading Israeli journalist, a columnist for Haaretz, and a commentator on Israeli public television.

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You can view a recording of this event below:


Other Events:

2016 – 2017 Academic Year

2015 – 2016 Academic Year

2014 – 2015 Academic Year

– 2014