JONATHAN BOYARIN, ANTHROPOLOGIST AND ETHNOGRAPHER OF THE LIFESTYLE AND CULTURE OF JEWS THROUGHOUT THE WORLD, WILL SPEAK AT BARD ON OCTOBER 23 Topic of his talk is "A Modern Meeting: Or, How Jewish Was the Man with the Scar?"
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.?On Tuesday, October 23, at 7:00 p.m., Jonathan Boyarin, an anthropologist and ethnographer of the lifestyle and culture of Jews throughout the world, will speak at Bard College on the topic "A Modern Meeting: Or, How Jewish was the Man with the Scar?" The program, presented by the Jewish studies, religion, history, anthropology programs and the Social Studies Division at Bard, will be held in Room 202 of the F. W. Olin Humanities Building and is free and open to the public.
Boyarin will read from his book A Storyteller's Worlds: The Education of Shlomo Noble in Europe and America, followed by a discussion. The Jerusalem Report notes that "this collection of reminiscences has an almost Talmudic structure, with the scholars' discourses followed by Boyarin's commentary." A Storyteller's Worlds relates Shlomo Noble's journey from a traditional East European Jewish community to America and follows his life within the New York Jewish immigrant community after World War I and in American universities just prior to World War II. Noble was a former professor of Boyarin's at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research.
Considered one of America's most original thinkers about Jewish culture, Boyarin has authored several other books, including A Storm from Paradise: The Politics of Jewish Memory, Thinking in Jewish, and Palestine and Jewish History: Criticism at the Borders of Ethnography, that seek to bring understanding of the roles that history, memory, and geography have played in the formation of Jewish identity.
Boyarin has also edited The Ethnography of Reading and, with his brother Daniel, Jews and Other Differences: The New Jewish Cultural Studies. In each of these works, Boyarin asks his readers to consider whether or not there is such a thing as an "essential" Jewish identity. While the notion of such an essential self has fallen out of favor in the age of postmodernism, Boyarin has persisted in asserting that identity does not serve the same function for marginalized groups that is serves for dominant groups. By seeking to record, catalogue, and preserve the identities of Jews from around the world, Boyarin uses his scholarship to combat the prejudices that have made it possible for dominant groups to question whether or not Jews should be allowed to exist.
Boyarin both attended and taught at the New School for Social Research in New York City and has done fieldwork on Jewish identity and tradition in Paris, New York, and Jerusalem. He is centrally concerned with defining and preserving Jewish culture, a project that has led him, as he has chronicled, to invent a "funky Orthodox" identity for himself. This project has also led him to participate in the effort to revive the Yiddish language and to provide a historical and scholarly record of the role that Jewish intellectuals and religious leaders have played in the development of Western civilization.
For further information, contact Rona Sheramy at 845-758-7090 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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