Ideology and culture have been linked since
ancient times. Now, a three-day conference at Northwestern University will
explore the relationship between Zionist ideology and modern Israeli cultural
“The Zionist Ideal in Israeli Culture: Dream
and Reality” will take place Nov. 17-19 in Hardin Hall in the Rebecca Crown
Center, 633 Clark Street, on Northwestern’s Evanston campus. It is free and
open to the public.
In a special session Nov. 19, Dror Moreh,
director of the highly acclaimed 2012 documentary “The Gatekeepers” will be
interviewed by Northwestern faculty and filmmakers David and Debra Tolchinsky.
The Academy Award-nominated film interviews six former chiefs of Shin Bet,
Israel’s internal security service.
The event is the inaugural conference of
Northwestern’s new initiative on Israel Studies, which was significantly
expanded last year with a generous gift from Renée and Lester Crown. The
initiative aims to increase undergraduate teaching on modern Israel and support
activities related to the culture, politics and society of a relatively small
country that plays a significant role in the world.
In individual conference sessions, scholars
from the United States and Israel will discuss Zionism’s influence on music and
dance, theatre, visual arts, literature, and cinema. The conference also will
feature a performance by the Tel-Aviv MultiPiano Ensemble, introduced by Henry
and Leigh Bienen School of Music Dean Toni-Marie Montgomery, with a concert by
the same group on Nov. 19.
“We’ll be looking at the links between
Zionist ideology and popular culture as well as its links to the visual,
literary and performing arts,” said Elie Rekhess, Northwestern’s Visiting Crown
Chair in Middle East Studies and founder of The Adenauer Program for
Jewish-Arab Cooperation at Tel-Aviv University.
Among the questions the American and Israeli
conference speakers will address are:
• What were the cultural contents of
post-1948 Zionist ideology?
• How did the newly-established state of
Israel use the legacy and perceived lessons of the Jewish past to promote a
distinctive Israeli national consciousness?
• Has the more recent “melting pot” ideology
in Israel produced a cohesive cultural environment or shaped a cultural mosaic
that preserves – or disrupts – distinct ethnic orientations?
• What was the impact of the Arab-Israeli
conflict on Israeli Jewish and Arab artists, authors, producers, and
performers? How has the image of the “other” – be it Israeli, Arab or
Palestinian – changed?
The Israel Studies Inaugural conference is
presented by Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, The Crown
Family Center for Jewish and Israel Studies, the Bienen School of Music, the
Buffett Center for International and Comparative Studies, the department of
history, and The Israel Institute in Washington, D.C.
For more information
and a conference agenda, email email@example.com,
visit visit http://www.jewish-studies.northwestern.edu/events/conferences/zionist-ideal.html
or call (847) 491-2612.