Natalie Zemon Lectures 2023 Confirmed

March 24, 2023

The Departments of History and Medieval Studies are pleased to announce that the Natalie Zemon Lectures 2023 will be given by Magda Teter, Professor of History and the Shvidler Chair of Judaic Studies at Fordham University.

On June 5, 6 and 7, Prof. Teter will discuss Reading Against the Grain: Recovering Stories of Jewish Lives from Hostile Archives. Her three lectures will explore anti-Jewish libels and their long-term legacies in Trent, northern Italy, and Sandomierz in eastern Poland. In both these cities, extensive archives survive, detailing the persecution, and neither town currently has a Jewish population. The lectures will explore the means by which the Jewish past can be recovered from hostile archives, specifically by reading against the grain and the imprint these libels left in each town.

Jewish Lives in Trent before 1475: Sifting through Johannes Hinderbach's Archive is the first lecture, to be given on Monday June 5 at 17:40 (CEST). It will explore trial records and other evidence collected by Prince-Bishop of Trent Johannes Hinderbach as part of the 1475 trial, using this to uncover the daily lives of Jewish inhabitants of the city. These trial records, in Latin, distort Jewish practices in more ways than through mistranslation, however this does not mean that the records cannot be useful. The lecture will explore how, given that little remains in the historical record detailing the lives of Jews in Trent, one can distill glimpses of daily lives of this small Jewish community before the catastrophe of 1475.

On Tuesday June 6, also at 17:40 (CEST), Prof. Teter will discuss A Window into Polish-Jewish Lives in Anti-Jewish Libels in Sandomierz. In 1698 and 1710, Stefan Żuchowski, a priest in the town of Sandomierz, instigated two trials. Notably, Żuchowski visited Trent in 1700, two years after his first clash with the Jewish community. This lecture will explore the trial records and other evidence gathered and self-consciously preserved by Żuchowski for glimpses of the lives and practices of Polish Jews.

The final lecture, Anti-Jewish Blood Libels in the Past and the Present, will be given on Wednesday June 7 also at 17:40 CEST. In this, Prof. Teter will explore how, even centuries later, the trials in Trent and Sandomierz continue to have an impact. Trent and Sandomierz have become sites of memory of premodern anti-Jewish libels, their legacies visible in public spaces on building facades, in churches, and museums. This talk will explore the different approaches each town has taken to reckon with this past.

Join us for one or all of the lectures in the auditorium of CEU's Quellenstrasse campus by registering here. The zoom links are on the individual event pages.