Pears Institute for the study of Antisemitism: Public Lectures, May-July, 2019

TITLE: From Amsterdam to Istanbul: Fundraising and Jewish Refugee Relief in the Seventeenth Century

Speaker: Professor Adam Teller, Brown University

Date: 20 May 2019

Location: Birkbeck, University of London, Clore Lecture Theatre, Clore Management Centre, Torrington Square, London WC1E 7JL

Time: 6:30pm – 8:00pm


This lecture examines the ways in which Jews across Europe and Asia co-operated in helping the tens of thousands of their co-religionists displaced by the mid-seventeenth century wars in eastern Europe.  A broad economic network coalesced which took money raised in communities as far distant as Amsterdam, Hamburg, Vienna, and Mantua and channelled it to where it was needed most – Poland-Lithuania, the Ottoman Empire, and even Iran.  The focus of the talk will be the Jews of Italy in general, and of Venice in particular, who were at the heart of the network, coordinating the fundraising, giving support to the refugees at home and abroad, and co-operating with the Jews of Istanbul in ransoming the thousands of Jewish captives brought to the slave markets there.

Adam Teller is Professor of History and Judaic Studies at Brown University in the USA. Educated at Oxford and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, he specializes in the economic, social, and cultural history of the Jews in early modern Poland-Lithuania.  His latest book, Money, Power, and Influence in Eighteenth Century Lithuania: The Jews on the Radziwiłł Estates was published by Stanford University Press in 2016.  He was a member of the core academic team that created the exhibit at the prize-winning POLIN Museum for the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw and is currently a member of the museum’s Academic Advisory Council.

Free event open to all::

TITLE: On the Road: Jewish Peddling and the Shaping of Jewish History

Public Lecture

Speaker: Professor Hasia Diner, New York University

Date: 17 June 2019

Location: Birkbeck, University of London, Clore Lecture Theatre, Clore Management Centre, Torrington Square, London WC1E 7JL

Time: 6:30pm – 8pm


In the long history of Jews and business, few phenomena have been more formative than Jewish peddling. The Jewish men who went out on the road laden with a jumble of goods, going door-to-door, selling to non-Jewish customers profoundly marked the experiences of both  Jews and those who bought from them. In this lecture Hasia Diner explores the contours of this history. She reveals how the practice of peddling changed over centuries, and what its impact has been on the great Jewish migrations out of Europe.

Hasia Diner is the Paul and Sylvia Steinberg Professor of American Jewish History and a Professor of Hebrew at New York University. Her areas of interest and research are American Jewish history, American immigration history and women’s history. She is the author of many books including Roads Taken: The Great Jewish Migrations to the New World and the Peddlers Who Forged the Way (Yale University Press, 2015).

Free event open to all:

TITLE: Jewish Money and the Image of the Jewish Body in the Middle Ages

Speaker: Professor Sara Lipton, State University of New York at Stony Brook

Date: 3 July 2019

Location: Jewish Museum London, Raymond Burton House, 129-131 Albert St, Camden Town, London NW1 7NB

Time: 6:30pm – 8:00pm


Through such vivid literary characters as Shylock, Fagin, and the notorious Jud Süß, the stereotype of the swarthy, hook-nosed, grasping Jewish moneylender has become a staple of western antisemitic discourse.  However, this ugly caricature was a relatively late development.  It was spurred not by actual Jews’ appearances or actions, but by the desire of medieval Christian clerics to warn against the seductions of their suddenly more prosperous world.

In this talk Professor Lipton traces the slowly evolving image of Jews in medieval art, depicted first as worldly and materialistic, and, ultimately, dangerous and demonic.

Sara Lipton is a Professor of History at Stony Brook University.  She has been a Fellow at The Metropolitan Museum, New York; the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences (EHESS), Paris; and the University of Oxford. Her most recent book is Dark Mirror: The Medieval Origins of Anti-Jewish Iconography (Metropolitan Books, 2014).

Free event open to all


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