Pop-up Lectures Contextualize the Roots of Antisemitism After Tree of Life

A 12-week pop-up lecture series at the University is teaching people about the rhetoric around religious hatred in the context of today’s global climate.

Antisemitism Then and Now: Perspectives after Tree of Life” offers a cross-disciplinary view to anyone grappling with the October shooting at the Squirrel Hill synagogue about two miles from campus. The talks are not just for undergraduates; staff, faculty, students at all levels and friends are welcome.

More to come

The final three lectures meet in 1502 Posvar Hall from 12-12:50 p.m.

Wednesday, April 3
“Right-Wing Nationalism in Europe”
Jae-Jae Spoon, Department of Political Science and the European Studies Center

Wednesday, April 10
“Antisemitism and Anti-Zionism: Distinctions, Conflations, and Conjunctions”
Adam Shear, Department of Religious Studies

Wednesday, April 17
Hate Groups and White Supremacists
Kathleen Blee, Department of Sociology

For questions, contact Irina Livezeanu, director of the Jewish Studies Program, at irinal@pitt.edu.

“Many of us were interested in responding to the tragedy through the lens of our scholarly expertise,” said Rachel Kranson, associate professor and director of undergraduate studies in the Department of Religious Studies.

“Once we realized just how many scholars in the Pittsburgh region had something to contribute to this conversation — even if they were not currently teaching courses in Jewish studies or antisemitism — we thought that a semester-long, interdisciplinary lecture series would offer the best venue for a longer term, sustained discussion.”

The series features a different lecturer each week. Six Pitt departments are represented, in addition to a Carnegie Mellon University historian and the director of the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh. The mini-course covers antisemitism’s pre-modern roots, modernity and contemporary issues in context. About 40 undergrads and 20 Osher students audit, and other Pitt faculty and staff drop in when they can.

It’s all to help frame recent events and deepen our teaching and learning, said Kranson.

“Knowing more about this history can’t answer every lingering question about the tragedy at Tree of Life,” said Kranson, “but it can offer us greater insight into the conditions and ideas that have made Jews vulnerable,” that persist today for all kinds of communities around the world.

The mini-course is offered by the Jewish Studies Program and made possible through a number of Pitt entities: the European Studies Center, Department of Religious Studies, Department of History, Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies, and was also made possible through generous support from the EU.