Program and Events

Guests Lecture Series

  • Thu

    Dr. Shelly Zer-Zion. The Shtetl in the Eretz-Israeli Theatre of the 1930's and the performance of ethnic Zionism

    7:30 pmWEB FORUM Center for Israel Studies Vienna

    The Shtetl in the Eretz-Israeli Theatre of the 1930s and the performance of ethnic Zionism

    During the 1930s the two Hebrew repertoire theatre companies of the Yishuv, Habima, and the Ohel, performed a large corpus of plays dealing with the landscapes of the Eastern European Jewish shtetl.  Their fascination with the shtetl is surprising, considering the fact that these two companies were deeply committed to the Zionist project, whose ethos was the building of a new society in Eretz-Israel and the negation of the diasporic Jewish existence.  In this lecture, I would like to explore the landscapes of the shtetl as they were presented on the Hebrew stage of the 1930s and to analyze their aesthetic and cultural meaning for their audience at that time. I would like to show that the shtetl plays formed a memory landscape that served as a mechanism for the formation of a modern, consolidated, ethnic Jewish collective in Palestine, which shared a unified narrative of its past as well as national aspirations for the future.

    About the speaker:
    Dr.  Shelly Zer-Zion
    is a faculty member at the department of theatre at the University of Haifa. Prior to this position, she was a Fulbright post-doctoral scholar at NYU and the director of the Israeli Center for the Documentation of the Performing Arts. Her research focuses on the history of modern Jewish theatre in Hebrew and Yiddish, and its role in the formation of Jewish national culture.  She published numerous articles on the subject in journals such as the Journal of Modern Jewish Studies and Jewish Social Studies. She is the author of the book Habima in Berlin: The Institutionalization of a Zionist Theatre (Magness Press, 2015). A German version of the book was published in Fink Verlag in 2016. She is a co-editor of the volume Habima: New Studies on National Theatre (Resling, 2017).

    Moderator: Doz. Dr. Brigitte Dalinger, University of Vienna
    Welcome: Dr. Eleonore Lappin-Eppel