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This course offers an introduction to the history of the Jews in Germany from the Age of Enlightenment to the present, by focussing on the often fateful intersections between German culture and the modern Jewish experience.

Detail Summary
Startdatum 3 september 2018
Einddatum 15 oktober 2018
Tijd 00:00

We will examine the complex and creative ways in which German Jews have sought to internalize, appropriate and, if necessary, convert central aspects of German and or European culture. In parallel, we will trace the reactions to the appearance of Jews in the secular public sphere, dissect the ways in which they were represented in broader German culture, and try to unravel the political functions of these portrayals and stereotypes. We will zoom in on the surprising connections between ‘culture and catastrophe’ (a motto coined by Steven Aschheim) which this encounter entailed, as manifest in the works of Mendelssohn, Kant and Fichte, Marx and Wagner, Heine, Kafka and Krauss, Zunz and Steinschneider, Buber and Rosenzweig, and, after the war, in the writings of Adorno, Scholem and Arendt, Walzer and Biller, as well as in Germany’s negotiations of its vanished Jewish past and the new State of Israel. The underlying question will be whether this contested symbiosis should be seen as a particular German Alleingang or whether it reflected a broader European paradigm.

Study guide

Date, time, location and price

  • Date: 3 September - 15 October 2018
  • Time: Mondays, 15:00 - 17:00 
  • Location: P.C. Hoofthuis, 5.31
  • Price: 150 / 135 (discount price for AUV-members)


Important information

Course type Open UvA Course
Education Lectures
Semester/blok Semester 1, block 1
Language English
Study material To be announced and made available via Canvas
Other You may only attend the lectures, not the seminars or other extras. It is not possible to partake in exams or obtain credits.  
Deadline registration 23 August 2018 (subject to availability)

Register and pay

Algemene voorwaarden Open UvA-Colleges


Canvas is the (new) digital learning environment of the University of Amsterdam and is used by all teachers and students of the UvA. Students of the Illustere School who are registered for an Open UvA Course are entitled to a temporary Canvas account. Your account information will be send to you by email, shortly before your course starts. For more information on Canvas please click on the link below.

FAQ Canvas