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Stanford scholar will deliver Syracuse University’s annual B.G. Rudolph Lecture in Judaic Studies on Oct. 26
Stanford scholar will deliver Syracuse University’s annual B.G. Rudolph Lecture in Judaic Studies on Oct. 26October 22, 2003Kelly Homan Rodoskikahoman@syr.edu
Gabriella Safran, professor in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at Stanford University, will deliver Syracuse University’s annual B. G. Rudolph Lecture in Judaic Studies on Oct. 26 at 2 p.m. at the Winnick Hillel Center for Jewish Life, 102 Walnut Pl.
The lecture will be followed by a reception; the lecture and the reception are free and open to the public. Handicapped or garage parking arrangements may be made by contacting Pamela Paul in the Judaic Studies Program at 443-5671 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Safran will speak on “Martyrdom and Revenge: S. An-sky on Terror and the Jewish Response to Violence.” The talk will situate An-sky (1863-1920), a Russian-Jewish writer, ethnographer and revolutionary, and some of his texts in the context of the Russian revolution of 1905-07. This revolution was characterized by acts of terrorism, especially assassinations of officials targeted for repressive policies. These acts were seen as acts of communication that symbolically punished the tsarist regime, avenged its victims and predicted a revolution; the logic mimics that of Russian Romantic literature, with its focus on the duel.
An-sky’s texts show how his ideas changed between 1905-08. At first, he thought that Jews could adopt the Russian Romantic model of heroism embodied in the figure of the terrorist/duelist. Later, he became skeptical that Jews could borrow models of heroism from Russian culture, and he began to construct new, perhaps more organically Jewish kinds of heroes. Throughout this period, An-sky remained deeply concerned with issues of communication; he saw the hero as a person who is able to say what he or she wants loudly and effectively.
Safran is the author of “Rewriting the Jew: Assimilation Narratives in the Russian Empire” (Stanford University Press, 2000), which won prizes from the Modern Languages Association, the Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages and the National Jewish Book Award. She is now working on a literary biography of An-sky. Last year, Safran led a discussion of An-sky’s play “The Dybbuk” following a performance at Syracuse Stage. At Stanford she teaches courses on Russian literature, especially 19th-century prose fiction, and on Eastern European Jewish literature.
The annual B. G. Rudolph Lecture in Judaic Studies was inaugurated by B.G.Rudolph in 1962. Since then, his son Jay Rudolph, along with others, have helped to build the University’s Judaic Studies Program.