Marc Volovici, Struggling with Language: Modern Jewish History and the German Language
The German language played a key role in the formation of various Jewish cultural, political and religious movements in the modern period. It came to acquire practical and symbolic significance that rendered it an integral part of the Jewish social landscape well beyond German-speaking lands. As such, German blurred the distinction between Jewish and non-Jewish languages. This lecture will present several facets of the Jewish history of the German language, and explore methodological questions around efforts to treat language—and the German language in particular—as a political factor in modern Jewish history.
Bio: Marc Volovici is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the Department of History, Classics and Archaeology and the Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism at Birkbeck University of London. He received his PhD in 2017 from Princeton University. Marc’s book, German as a Jewish Problem: The Language Politics of Jewish Nationalism (2020), investigates the multifaceted place of the German language in Jewish history and its impact on the formation of Jewish national movements. Marc served as an academic advisor and co-edited the exhibition catalogue for the award-winning exhibition ‘Jews, Money, Myth’, developed in collaboration with the Jewish Museum London, which ran at the Museum in 2019.