Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Harvard University's Davis Center Partners with Genesis Philanthropy Group to Launch Project on Russian and Eurasian Jewry

The Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University, and Genesis Philanthropy Group, a global foundation that works to develop and enhance Jewish identity among Russian-speaking Jews worldwide, announce the launch of a series of events on Harvard's campus focused on Russian-speaking Jewry.

The lecture series and symposia will feature innovative thinkers, practitioners, authors, journalists and historians, including:

  • Roman Katsman, Associate Professor in the Department of Literature of the Jewish People at Bar-Ilan University in Israel, on Russophone literary culture in Israel;
  • Stefano Garzonio, Professor of Russian Language and Literature at the University of Pisa in Italy, on Russian Jews in Italy;
  • Ellen G. Friedman, Professor of English and Holocaust Studies at The College of New Jersey, in conversation with Joshua Rubenstein, author of The Last Days of Stalin, on survival of Polish Jews in Stalin's Russia during World War II and the Shoah;
  • Derek Penslar, the Stanley Lewis Visiting Professor of Israel Studies at the University of Oxford, on the response to Zionism among Russian and East European Jews; and
  • Ellendea Proffer Teasley, co-founder of Ardis Publishers and MacArthur Fellow, on Joseph Brodsky in Russia and America.

The lectures and symposia sessions will be recorded and made available online to the public and organizations working to engage Russian-speaking Jews around the world.

In the words of Rawi Abdelal, Herbert F. Johnson Professor of International Management at Harvard Business School and the Director of the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, "The Davis Center is grateful to Genesis Philanthropy Group for supporting and being our thought partner for our project on Russian and Eurasian Jewry. Current issues have made it increasingly important for us to better understand both the past and present of this part of the world, and Russian-speaking Jewry's place in it, and I look forward to the enlightening events and spirited conversations that will come out of this partnership."

Added Maxim D. Shrayer, Professor of Russian, English and Jewish Studies at Boston College, National Jewish Book Award winner and author of With or Without You: The Prospect for Russia's Jews, who has been appointed Director of the newly created Project on Russian and Eurasian Jewry at the Davis Center, "I am thrilled to lead this exciting initiative bringing together scholars, students and the interested public. My colleagues and I look forward to shedding new light on Russian and Eurasian Jewry's rich heritage and to debating exciting questions of Russian-Jewish history and culture."

Ilia Salita, President and CEO of Genesis Philanthropy Group, shared, "Genesis Philanthropy Group seeks to increase knowledge and appreciation of the history and culture of Russian-speaking Jews, and partnering with Harvard's esteemed Davis Center presents a transformative opportunity to bring together leading scholars of Russian and Eurasian Jewry from around the world. We look forward to launching this joint initiative with the Davis Center, and to working together to develop accompanying programs beyond the Harvard campus."

The project will officially kick off on November 15 with a symposium featuring Jeffrey Veidlinger, the Joseph Brodsky Collegiate Professor of History and Judaic Studies, and Director of the Frankel Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan, in conversation with Irina Astashkevich, Visiting Research Associate of the Tauber Institute for the Study of European Jewry at Brandeis University, and Project Director Maxim D. Shrayer. Titled "Pogroms, Genocide, and Migration Crises in 1919-1921 Ukraine," the symposium will address the latest research on the anti-Jewish violence that accompanied the Russian Revolution and ensuing Civil War.