Jeffrey Kopstein, "The Common History of Violence: Pogroms in Alexandria 38CE, Valencia 1391, and Lvov 1941"

Keynote Lecture of the Schwartz-Reisman Graduate Student Conference in Jewish Studies

Despite broad research on the causes and consequences of violence, political science has only weakly incorporated the Shoah into the corpus of its theoretical work.  This is ironic because for students of ethnic conflict nothing would seem to be more obvious than to include what is arguably the “index case” of modern violence into the mainstream of the discipline. Both the enormity of the event and its moral burden have made it difficult to say anything “general” about it.  One solution is to break down the Shoah into multiple, discrete episodes.  Instead of seeing the Holocaust as one “case” of genocide, it is productive to view it as many different events that in their whole we label one.  Such an approach facilitates theoretical innovation while relieving researchers of assuming the entire empirical and normative burden the Shoah entails.  Professor Kopstein will illustrate this insight through a comparison of neighbor-on-neighbor violence that occurred at the beginning of the Holocaust with previous anti-Jewish pogroms in Antiquity and the late Middle Ages.

Jeffrey Kopstein is professor at the University of California Irvine.

Presented by the Granovsky-Gluskin Graduate Program at the Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies


Date & Time
Monday, April 18, 2016 - 4:00pm - 6:00pm

Jackman Humanities Building, Room 100, 170 St. George Street