Comparative Diasporas: Politics and Culture

Thursday May 5th, 2011
An International Workshop
Institute of Jewish Studies, University of Antwerp

This event intends to look into the links between various diasporas and their 'mother countries,' as well as how the construction of diasporic identities has created novel dimensions within the cultural and political spheres. The way diasporas have also helped their mother countries politically and economically - by creating lobbies as well as financial investments - will also be discussed. Of equal interest will be the question to what degree diasporas have sometimes been more radical and more nationalistic than their mother countries. The workshop therefore ultimately aims at gaining insights into the differences as well as the common denominators revealed in the conditions, manifestations, and consequences of various diasporic situations in view of a better understanding of the phenomenon in scientific, educational, and political terms.

Keynote speaker

Prof. dr. Shlomo Avineri (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
"Mother Countries and Diasporas: Political and Cultural Interactions in Historical Perspective"


  • Prof. dr. Ivo Banac (Yale University) - "The 'Worst Emigration': Perspectives on Croatian Diasporas"
  • Prof. dr. Richard Clogg (Oxford University) - "Xeniteia: The Greek Diaspora in Modern Times"
  • Prof. dr. Irena Grudzinska-Gross (Princeton University) - "The End of Literary Exile: Czeslaw Milosz and Joseph Brodsky"

Workshop Program

Overview presentations

4th Contact Day Jewish Studies on the Low Countries

May 31st, 2011
An International Workshop

The Institute of Jewish Studies organizes for the fourth time an interdisciplinary conference concerning Jewish Studies on the Low Countries at the University of Antwerp, the purpose of which  is to facilitate contacts between researchers working within this area of study and to establish a positive exchange between different research generations. 

Prof. dr. Karin Hofmeester (
Dr. Veerle Vanden Daelen (


  • Drs. Arnaud Bozzini - Université Libre de Bruxelles (B)
  • Drs. David Duindam - Universiteit van Amsterdam (NL)
  • Dr. Marc P. Lalonde - Concordia University (CA)
  • Dra. Tsila Rädecker - Rijksuniversiteit Groningen (NL)
  • Dr. Jessica Roitman - Birkbeck College, University of London (GB)
  • Dr. Hubert Schijf - Universiteit van Amsterdam (NL)
  • Dr. Peter Tammes - Universiteit Leiden (NL)
  • Dra. Efrat Tzadik-Fallik - Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (B)
  • Dra. Iris Vandevelde - Universiteit Antwerpen (B)

Workshop Program

Detailed Workshop Program

Tradition and Modernity in Jewish Culture and History

May 31st - June 1st, 2011
Special 10th Anniversary Conference

This celebratory event will bring together some of the world's foremost scholars to reflect on decisive moments and processes of interaction between continuity and change in the development of Jewish religion, cultural praxis and aesthetic production in the modern era. The conference aims at presenting current topics, methodologies and case studies in Jewish Studies from a variety of perspectives and different scholarly fields. 

Keynote Speakers

  • Prof. dr. Geoffrey H. Hartman (Yale University) - Sacred and Secular: Creation's Theological Duty
  • Prof. dr. David B. Ruderman (University of Pennsylvania) - Mysticism, Science, and Moral Cosmopolitanism in Enlightenment Jewish Thought

Invited Speakers

  • Prof. dr. Aleida Assmann (Universität Konstanz) - From Book to Books: Hannah Arendt's Concept of Humanitas as a Literary Universe
  • Prof. dr. Richard I. Cohen (Hebrew University of Jerusalem) - Seven Visual Interpretations of Jewish History: Struggling with Tradition in Modernity
  • Prof. dr. David N. Myers (University of California, Los Angeles) - History, Memory, and Modernity
  • Prof. dr. Ilana Pardes (Hebrew University of Jerusalem) - Agnon's Moonstruck Lovers: The Song of Songs in Israeli Culture
  • Prof. dr. Elhanan Reiner (Tel Aviv University) - The Printed Talmud: A Project of Modern Jewish Culture
  • Prof. dr. Irene E. Zwiep (Universiteit van Amsterdam) - Bridging the Gap Between Past and Future: Going Dutch, Growing Jewish in the Low Countries (1796-1860)

Special Celebratory Event in Honor of Prof. dr. Geoffrey Hartman

  • Dr Michal Ben Naftali (Independent Scholar) - A Dis-Identity Card: Geoffrey Hartman on the Paul de Man Affair, After 25 Years
  • Prof. dr. Ortwin de Graef (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven) & Dr. Pieter Vermeulen (Universiteit Gent)
  • Prof. dr. Vivian Liska (Universiteit Antwerpen) - Winged Words and Wounded Voices: Geoffrey Hartman on Midrash and Testimony

Conference program (PDF)


Welcome Words Prof. dr. Alain Verschoren, Rector University of Antwerp

Welcome Words Prof. dr. em. Baron Julien Klener, President of the Belgisch-Israëlitisch Consistorie

Powerpoint Presentation Prof. dr. Ilana Pardes

Powerpoint Presentation Prof. dr. Richard I. Cohen

Welcome Words Prof. dr. Vivian Liska, Director Institute of Jewish Studies

American Responses to the Holocaust: Transatlantic Perspectives

June 15th-17th, 2011
An International Conference of the Netherlands American Studies Association and the Belgian Luxembourg American Studies Association

This conference aims to explore American Responses to the Holocaust and the ways in which the systematic destruction of European Jewry during World War II has figured in American politics, in important cultural and social debates in the United States, in American literature and popular culture, and in other aspects of American life, such as religion, education, and jurisprudence. American Responses to the Holocaust will bring a new American Studies perspective to what has traditionally been the focus of Jewish Studies and Holocaust studies. The organizers have selected many papers that explore responses to the Holocaust from a transatlantic perspective in the belief that a comparative approach that takes into account the similarities and differences between responses in Europe and the United States is useful and enlightening for American Studies scholars and can contribute new and valuable insights into the ways in which the Holocaust has figured in American life.

The event will be held at two different locations, i.e. at the Roosevelt Study Center in Middelburg, The Netherlands (15-16 June), and at the University of Antwerp, Belgium (16-17 June). 


  • Gert Buelens (Ghent University)
  • Hans Krabbendam (Roosevelt Study Center)
  • Vivian Liska (Uni. Antwerp Institute of Jewish Studies)
  • Derek Rubin (Utrecht University)

Financial Support

  • American Embassy, The Hague, The Netherlands
  • Antwerp University, Belgium
  • Belgian Luxembourg American Studies Association
  • Institute of Jewish Studies, Antwerp, Belgium
  • Netherlands American Studies Association
  • Province of Zeeland, Middelburg, The Netherlands
  • Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, Amsterdam
  • The NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Keynote Lectures

  • David Cesarini (University of London, GB)
  • Dan Diner (University of Leipzig, D)
  • Hasia Diner (New York University, USA)
  • Deborah Dwork (Clark University, USA)
  • Howard Gutman (U.S. Ambassador to Belgium)
  • Herman Van Goethem (University of Antwerp, B)

Conference Program

Detailed Conference Program

Special IJS-panel: Contemporary Perspectives on the Holocaust

A special panel organized by the Institute of Jewish Studies at the University of Antwerp within the framework of the international conference American Responses to the Holocaust: Transatlantic Perspectives
June 16th 2011
Klooster der Grauwzusters, Lange Sint-Annastraat 7, Antwerp

19:45 Welcome words by Prof. dr. Vivian Liska (University of Antwerp)
20:00 Opening talk by His Excellency Howard Gutman, U.S. Ambassador to Belgium
20:20 The Holocaust as Genocide: Transforming WWII in an Era of Globalization by Prof. dr. Dan Diner (University of Leipzig)
20:40 Commemorating the Holocaust in Belgium: A New Museum on Holocaust and Human Rights in Mechelen by Prof. dr. Herman Van Goethem (University of Antwerp)
21:00 Discussion

IJS-Panel Program