Professor Margo Gewurtz: Jews and Modernity- Vienna

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Professor Margo Gewurtz: Jews and Modernity- Vienna

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Over the past two years, Professor Margo Gewurtz has informed and delighted her audiences with her lecture series on “The Jews of China” and “Jews and Modernity: Paris and New York”. This year Margo returns with another 4-part series entitled “Jews and Modernity: Vienna”.

Margo explains: “To continue my exploration of Jews as the creators of modernity, I turn to Vienna. The ideas and art brought forth, especially during the most fruitful period in Viennese history from the late 1880s to the 1920s, endured and we cannot imagine the modern world without them. It was the “Viennese century” and Jews like Freud, Kafka, Herzl and Stefan Zweig among others were central to this creation of modernism. This is the subject of this series and at the heart of all this was Vienna.”

1. Vienna: City of the Century
– Wednesday, October 10

Jews in the Austro- Hungarian Empire and especially in Vienna flourished yet Vienna became notorious for the first incorporation of anti-Semitism into a political program. This lecture will examine the paradoxes of Jewish life in Vienna.

2. The Jewish Kafka
– Wednesday, October 17

Recognized as the greatest modern writer in the German language and the father of literary modernism, Franz Kafka has been insufficiently recognized as a Jewish writer. In this lecture, we will examine how his Judaism propelled him to become a unique chronicler of modern life.

3. Brave New World: Freud and the New Social Sciences
– Wednesday, October 31

From Vienna came some of the most important schools of thought of the 20th century, including the application of up-to-date “scientific” methods to new fields like child psychology and public opinion surveys. The most famous was Freud but other key Jewish thinkers, many of them women, were part of this transformation and will be given their due.

4. Visions of the Jewish Future: Herzl and Stefan Zweig
– Wednesday, November 7

With the creation of political anti-Semitism in Vienna, came a Jewish response to this threat. Of the many responses, two stand out: Theodore Herzl’s Zionism and Stefan Zweig’s pan- European humanism. These two visions of the Jewish future will be examined in this talk.

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