EducationFeatureFirst DraftsLetters

Public Shakespeare in Public Seminar

Public writing is framed as an alternative to both academic writing and creative projects

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EssaysFeature

Forming a New Polish Political Consciousness

Part Three: Confronting Polish Responsibility for the Shoah in Paris

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EducationEssaysFeaturePower and CrisisScienceTheory & Practice

What Could History Have Been?

Imagining new approaches to the humanities

“What could history have been?” The question asks how events might have turned out otherwise, if only X had happened instead of Y. What if JFK hadn’t been assassinated? What if Hitler had? The official term for this kind of what-if thinking is “counterfactual history,” and it covers anything from an academic’s earnest attempt to imagine the US economy without railroads to Quentin Tarantino’s WWII redux Jewish revenge fantasy, Inglourious Basterds — anything, that is, which imagines history as it did not happen.

But the same question can be the spur to a different kind of speculation.“History,” after all, has two meanings. It’s not just the sum of past events, but the discipline that studies them. …

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EducationEssaysThe LeftTheory & Practice

On the Academic Calls to Boycott Israel, Part III

The Jewish Question and the debate over the Israeli academy

The “Jewish Question” was defined in turn of the century Europe as a question about the manner and degree to which Jewish difference was compatible with the ideals of European modernity (Librett 2014) as well as with political projects that took shape with and against its geopolitical contexts (Bauer 2000 [1843]; Marx 1978 [1844]; Peled 1992). What defined “Jewish difference” was part of this question. Questions about whether the Jew is defined by anti-Semitism …

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EssaysThe LeftTheory & Practice

On the Academic Calls to Boycott Israel, Part II

The Jewish Question and the debate over the Israeli academy

After summarizing Israel’s siege of the Gaza Strip and dispossession of Palestinians from land and livelihood, the pro-boycott petition’s signatories declare: “As employees in institutions of higher learning, we have a particular responsibility to oppose Israel’s widespread and systematic violations of the right to higher education of Palestinians on both sides of the Green Line.” Pointing out the ways in which Israeli authorities, including institutions …

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