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28 January 2010

Professor Pulzer asks what lay behind the often-repeated denunciation of the Weimar Republic as a ‘Jewish Republic’ (‘Judenrepublik’). He will discuss the association of Germany’s Jews with ideas of liberalism and democracy and above all the role of Jewish constitutional lawyers in elaborating and defending the constitution of Germany’s first experiment with democracy, with special reference to Hugo Preuss, Hermann Heller and Hans Kelsen.

Until his retirement Peter Pulzer was Gladstone Professor of Government at the University of Oxford and Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford. His publications include The Rise of Political Anti-Semitism in Germany and Austria, Jews and the German State: The Political History of a Minority and Germany 1870-1945: Politics, State-Building and War. He is Chair of the Leo Baeck Institute, London and Vice-president of the International Association for the Study of German Politics

4 March 2010

Keith Joseph gave the Conservatives something they had not enjoyed for many years – intellectual self-confidence, a conviction that the Left could be defeated on the battleground of ideas. He is crucial to an understanding not only of Thatcherism but also of the rise of New Labour, itself a product of the consensus which Joseph, more than anyone else, helped to create. Joseph had sought to construct a new `common ground’, based on the market economy, and, by 1997, Labour, for the first time in its history, no longer called for an extension of nationalisation or state control. Thus Joseph’s heirs are not only Margaret Thatcher and Nigel Lawson, but also Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. Indeed, the world we live in is one largely created by Keith Joseph, and we will probably continue to live in it for a very long time to come.

Vernon Bogdanor CBE is Professor of Government at Oxford University, and a Visiting Professor of Constitutional History at King’s College, London. He is a Fellow of the British Academy, Honorary Fellow of the Institute for Advanced Legal Studies, and a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences. He has been an adviser to a number of governments, including those of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Kosovo, Israel and Slovakia. His books include, The People and the Party System: The Referendum and Electoral Reform in British Politics; Multi-Party Politics and the Constitution; Power and the People: A Guide to Constitutional Reform and Devolution in the United Kingdom. His latest book, The New British Constitution, was published in 2009.  He is also editor of, amongst other books, The British Constitution in the 20th Century; Joined-Up Government; and, to be published in March, 2010, From the New Jerusalem to New Labour, essays on British Prime Ministers from Attlee to Blair.  He is a frequent contributor to TV, radio and the press.  In 2008, he was awarded the Sir Isaiah Berlin Award by the Political Studies Association for Lifetime Contribution to Political Studies.  In 2009 he was made a Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur by President Sarkozy. He is an Honorary Fellow of The Queen’s College, Oxford and an Honorary D. Litt. of the University of Kent.

25 March 2010

Drawing on her magisterial new biography, Green revisits Montefiore’s career as a campaigner for Jewish rights at home and abroad. She shows how he leveraged business contacts with men like the anti-slavery campaigner Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton and the Irish nationalist Daniel O’Connell to bring Jews into the mainstream of British politics during the era of slave emancipation and the Great Reform Act. The alliance Montefiore forged with the evangelical and dissenting middle classes in the name of ‘civil and religious liberty’ would enable Montefiore to engage a broad political coalition in support of international Jewish relief as a humanitarian cause during the Damascus Affair of 1840 and the decades that followed.

Abigail Green is Tutor and Fellow in Modern History at Brasenose College, Oxford. She is the author of Fatherlands: State-building and Nationhood in 19th century Germany, and of Moses Montefiore: Jewish Liberator, Imperial Hero. Her wide-ranging interests include regionalism and nationalism in Germany, humanitarian philanthropy and religious internationalism.

27 May 2010

Walther Rathenau is best known for being Germany’s foreign minister and for having been murdered by enemies of the Weimar Republic as its symbol and representative in the summer of 1922. This, however, was only the peak of a long route, along which he was trying to enter politics and influence Germany’s fate both ‘from within’ in one or another official post and ‘from without’ as member of the upper crust of Berlin’s social elite, at least since 1907/8 and then most particularly during the First World War. As a powerful indsutrialist and banker he had many opportunities to exrecise his influence, but being an individualist, not belonging to any party and, perhaps even more significantly a Jew, there were also many difficulties along his route. In this lecture I’ll analyze Rathenau’s career and evaluate his success as well as his failures, throwing some new light on the history of Germany and on that of its Jews during these years.

Shulamit Volkov, Professor of Modern History and  incumbent of the Konrad Adenauer Chair for Comparative European History at Tel Aviv University, Israel. Member of the Israel Academy of Science and the Humanities. Served as Head of the Institute for German History and the Graduate School of History at TAU. She was Fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin and the Historisches Kolleg in Munich, as well as a visiting scholar at St. Antony’s College, Oxford, L’École des hautes études en sciences sociales, Paris, and Columbia University, New York. Published books and essays on German social history, German Jewish history and the history of Antisemitism; on issues in the history of the Enlightenment, and on the historiography of National-Socialism. Her last book, Germans, Jews, and Antisemites. Trials in Emancipation, appeared at the Cambridge University Press in 2006.

22 July 2010

Marx and the Jewish Question: the lecture will take advantage of the ambiguity of the formulation, which refers at the same time to the historical attitude of Marx with respect to the condition of the Jewish communities in 19th century Europe, faced with a dilemma of assimilation or becoming minoritarian, and to the philosophical developments contained in the 1844 article for the Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher, “Zur Judenfrage”, where, in reply to Bauer’s homonymous brochure, Marx would propose his first analysis of the value and limitations of bourgeois “juridical universality”. It will reflect on the latent tension in Marx between a “secular” theory of the political in terms of radical democratic emancipation and a “messianic” transposition of the function of the Chosen People on the world proletariat. Ultimately it will try to assess the extent to which Marx’s dialectic of community and universality constituted a real alternative to the development of Modern Jewish Nationalism or simply represented its inverted image.

Etienne Balibar was born in Avallon (France) in 1942.He graduated at the Ecole Normale Supérieure and the Sorbonne in Paris, later took his PhD from the University of Nijmegen (Netherlands) and has an Habilitation from Université de Paris I.He has been teaching at the Universities of Algiers, Paris I (Panthéon-Sorbonne), Leiden, Nanterre (Paris 10). He is now Emeritus Professor of Moral and Political Philosophy at the University of Paris 10 Nanterre and Distinguished Professor of Humanities at the University of California, Irvine (USA). He is also teaching seminars at the Centro Franco-Argentino de Altos Estudios de la Universidad de Buenos-Aires (Argentina) and the Center for Comparative Literature and Society at Columbia University of New-York.He is author or co-author of numerous books including Reading Capital (with Louis Althusser) (1965), On the Dictatorship of the Proletariat (1976), Race, Nation, Class. Ambiguous Identities (Verso, 1991, with Immanuel Wallerstein), Masses, Classes, Ideas (Routledge, 1994), The Philosophy of Marx (Verso 1995), Spinoza and Politics (Verso 1998), Politics and the Other Scene (Verso, 2002), We, the People of Europe? Reflections on Transnational Citizenship (Princeton, 2004). He is also a contributor of the Dictionnaire Européen des Philosophies (sous la direction de Barbara Cassin, 2004). Forthcoming are Extreme Violence and the Problem of Civility (The Wellek Library Lectures 1996), and Citoyen Sujet, Essais d’anthropologie philo­sophique (Presses Universitaires de France).Etienne Balibar is a member of Ligue des Droits de l’Homme (Paris), with a particular interest in the rights of migrants and asylum seekers. He is co-founder of Faculty for Israeli-Palestinian Peace and acting chair of Association Jan Hus France.