Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
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Geneviève Zubrzycki — Nationalism, Philosemitism and Poland’s Jewish Revival

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

4 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Joukowsky Forum, 111 Thayer Street

Since the early 2000s, Poland has experienced a remarkable Jewish revival, largely driven by non-Jewish Poles with a passionate new interest in all things Jewish. Klezmer music, Jewish-style restaurants, kosher vodka, and festivals of Jewish culture have become popular, while new museums, memorials, Jewish studies programs, and Holocaust research centers reflect soul-searching about Polish-Jewish relations before, during, and after the Holocaust. In "Resurrecting the Jew" (Princeton University Press, 2022), Geneviève Zubrzycki examines this revival and asks what it means to try to bring Jewish culture back to life in a country where 3 million Jews were murdered and where only about 10,000 Jews now live.

Meet the Author

Geneviève Zubrzycki is Professor of Sociology at the University of Michigan, where she directs the Weiser Center for Europe and Eurasia and the Copernicus Center for Polish Studies. A historical and cultural sociologist, she has published widely on nationalism and religion; collective memory, national mythology and the politics of commemoration; and visual culture and materiality. She’s the author of the award-winning The Crosses of Auschwitz: Nationalism and Religion in Post-Communist Poland and Beheading the Saint: Nationalism, Religion and Secularism in Quebec and the editor of National Matters: Materiality, Culture and Nationalism. Her most recent monograph, Resurrecting the Jew: Nationalism, Philosemitism and Poland’s Jewish Revival analyzes the current renewal of Jewish communal life in Poland and non-Jewish Poles’ interest in all things Jewish, exploring the limits of performative solidarity and empathetic forms of cultural appropriation. In 2021 Zubrzycki was the recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship and was awarded the Bronislaw Malinowski Prize in the Social Sciences from the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences of America.