Writing Jews in Contemporary Britain




Event Date: 11 September 2013
Council Room, Birkbeck College,
University of London
Torrington Square entrance,
London WC1E 7HX

The Pears Institute for the study of Antisemitism in collaboration with University of Kent and University of Sheffield present:

Writing Jews in Contemporary Britain

The workshop’s emphasis is on new and innovative work being undertaken in the field and is intended to provide a forum for presenting and analysing the most recent critical and theoretical approaches to British-Jewish fiction, film, television drama and documentary.

Through the workshop we hope to explore, among other topics, the representation of ‘hyphenated’ British and Jewish identities; the recent history and current state of British-Jewish literary and visual culture; and the relation of that culture to the mainstream in Britain. The seminar will also consider British-Jewish culture in the light of postcolonial thinking and in comparison to the development of Jewish culture in the USA.

The workshop will consist of three two-speaker panels, each panel centred on a particular theme:


Introductory Remarks by David Feldman (Pears Institute for the study of Antisemitism)


 Panel One: Post-War British-Jewish Fiction

Chair: David Feldman (Pears Institute for the study of Antisemitism)

Nadia Valman (Queen Mary, University of London): Anglo-Jewish Literature and the Poetics of Place


Ruth Gilbert (University of Winchester): ‘Genes, Shmenes’: Jew-ish Identities in Contemporary British Jewish Writing


Panel Two: British-Jewish Film and Television

Chair: Sue Vice (University of Sheffield)

Nathan Abrams (Bangor University): Lolita’s Hidden Heart of Jewishness


James Jordan (University of Southampton): Either/Neither or a Bit of Both: The Wandering View of British Television’s Image of the Jew



Panel Three: British-Jewish Writing in Relation to Anglophone and  World Jewish Literary Production                                                                           

Chair: Axel Stähler  (University of Kent)

David Brauner (University of Reading): Fetishizing the Holocaust:  Transatlantic Connections and Comedy in Howard Jacobson’s ‘Kalooki Nights’


Bryan Cheyette (University of Reading): British-Jewish Writing and the Challenge of Metaphorical Thinking


Closing Remarks by Axel Stähler (University of Kent) and Sue Vice (University of Sheffield)



The Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism

“The relationship between antisemitism and other forms of racism and exclusion is not only a historical question. It is an urgent issue for today.” Professor David Feldman, Director.

The Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism was established by the Pears Foundation and is based at Birkbeck, University of London. It is a centre of innovative research and teaching, contributing to discussion and policy formation on antisemitism as well as other forms of racial prejudice and intolerance. It is both independent and inclusive.






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