International Academic Conference: I. L. Peretz and His Circle

The POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, Polish Association for Yiddish Studies, Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland and International Center for Research on the History and Cultural Heritage of Jews from Central and Eastern Europe at John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin invite you to participate in the academic conference “I. L. Peretz and His Circle.” The conference will be devoted to the life, work and milieu of the pioneer of Yiddish modernism, the writer known as the father of modern Yiddish literature, as well as to the cultural circles for which Peretz’s oeuvre served as an inspiration.

Yitzkhok Leybush Peretz, writer, journalist and social activist, is perceived today as a monumental figure. But for later generations monuments often become cold and one- dimensional symbols of the past. On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Peretz’s death we would like to look again at the writer’s rich oeuvre, which has been somehow overshadowed by the reverent image of the “father of Yiddish literature.” The main questions posed during the conference will concern Peretz’s life and biography, including his connections with Zamość and Warsaw; new ways of reading and interpreting the writer’s work and his other activities and achievements; the milieu that evolved around him in Warsaw and the direct and indirect influence that it had on the development of modern Yiddish culture.

Thus the conference will comprise themes of a wider cultural circle, dynamically developing in Eastern Europe from the end of the nineteenth century to mid-twentieth century. This cultural circle was connected with the Yiddish language and deeply rooted in the Ashkenazi tradition (including its multicultural aspects), but at the same time creatively connected to the achievements of European literature, art, theatre and scholarship. It included such figures as Sh. An-ski, Sholem Asch, Hersh Dovid Nomberg, and institutions like YIVO. Therefore the conference will serve as an opportunity to reflect on the transformations of modern Yiddish culture.

We welcome papers presenting penetrating analyses of sources and problems of that epoch as well as innovatory and unconventional approaches to the heritage of the writer and his milieu. We are interested in new interpretations and new contexts not as of yet researched. We would like to find out how different scholars perceive the changing image of Peretz with its wide heritage and milieu in the light of contemporary discourses in literary, cultural and sociological studies.

The Warsaw part of the conference will take place in the newly opened POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, while the Zamość part in the restored synagogue which now houses the Synagogue Center of the Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland.

Professor Ruth R. Wisse will be the honorary guest and the key note speaker at the conference.

 

MAIN THEMES OF THE CONFERENCE

The conference will consist of two main parts devoted to:

  • Activities of the Yiddish cultural circle in the context of popular culture, literature, art, theatre, cinema and scholarship inspired by Peretz. Consequently the role of Warsaw as the centre of Yiddish cultural life will be stressed.
  • Peretz’s life and work, including reception of his writings as well as new interpretations of the views presented in pre-war literary critique.

 

REGISTRATION AND SUBMISSION OF ABSTRACTS

Twenty-minute papers can be presented in Polish or English. Each session will be followed by a discussion. Additionally a panel in Yiddish will take place. Simultaneous translation will be available.

Please send the conference form with an abstract of your paper (approx. 300 words) by December 31, 2014 to the e-mail address: konferencja.perecowska@gmail.com

The authors will be informed about the Organizing Committee’s decision by January 31, 2015.

The organizers are trying to get funding to cover accommodation and board for the participants in Warsaw and Zamość as well as transportation from Warsaw to Zamość and back. We are unable to cover the costs of transportation to Warsaw.

 

The Organizing Committee

Hanna Węgrzynek (POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, Warsaw)

Joanna Nalewajko-Kulikov (Polish Association for Yiddish Studies/Institute of History at the Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw)

Karolina Szymaniak (Polish Association for Yiddish Studies/Jewish Historical Institute, Warsaw)

Marek Tuszewicki (Polish Association for Yiddish Studies/Department of Judaic Studies, Jagiellonian University, Krakow)

Gniewomir Zajączkowski (Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland, Warsaw)

Sławomir Jacek Żurek (International Center for Research on the History and Cultural Heritage of Jews from Central and Eastern Europe at John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin)

Monika Szabłowska-Zaremba (Polish Association for Yiddish Studies/ International Center for Research on the History and Cultural Heritage of Jews from Central and Eastern Europe at John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin).

Date: 
7 September 2015 - 10 September 2015
7 Sep 2015
10 Sep 2015
Europe/Warsaw