Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Welcome to 2012

This blog is from Gabriel, our director of public programs who would like to welcome you to 2012 and to new season of programming from us here at the Museum. The best part of these programs is that none of them involve joining a gym or going on a diet. Why don't you resolve to spend some time with us instead?

Yes, it’s cold outside, and so some cold, scientific programming seemed in order, except – as our exhibition Deadly Medicine shows – science isn’t always so cold and scientific. The exhibition will be leaving us this month but not before getting a grand sendoff.

On January 11, just before Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, we’ll look at how racially based theories were applied not just in Europe but right here at home. Scholars Alondra Nelson and Susan Reverby will examine medical discrimination and the African American community.

Later in the month, on the 29th, in collaboration with the Primo Levi Center, we’ll look at how the Nazis were not alone among the Axis powers in using medical and racial language in propping up their regimes. Francesco Cassata of the University of Genoa will show how Italy’s scientific community helped bolster a fascist conception of “fitness.”

The winter months seem a particularly apt time to look at the Refusenik experience, as highlighted in our exhibition Let My People Go! Whether fairly or not, it’s tough to envision Soviet émigrés without their fur hats.

On January 22, journalist Gal Beckerman and historian Henry Feingold will evaluate the history and legacy of the movement to liberate the Jews of the U.S.S.R.

On February 12, we examine the Soviet-Jewish émigré experience as depicted in film. We begin the day with the 2007 documentary Refusenik and then continue with the little-known 1991 feature film And the Wind Returneth by the Soviet-born director Mikhail Kalik. To give context to the day, we’ll be joined by UMass Amherst film historian Olga Gershenson.

On January 8, we continue our yearlong celebration of Emma Lazarus. Historians Hasia Diner and Aviva Ben-Ur will help map out the different – and fast changing – Jewish world that enlivened the New York of Lazarus’ day.

Later in the month, on the 25th, we again look at New York’s intersecting Jewish streams but through a very different lens. In a New York premiere, we’ll offer a staged reading adapted from Chaim Potok’s 1967 novel The Chosen.

February will begin and end with some of today’s most prominent literary critics.
On the first of the month, New Republic senior editor Ruth Franklin will join Dartmouth College’s Barbara Will for a discussion of a little-known detail of Gertrude Stein’s biography: that she translated speeches by Marshal Philippe Pétain, head of the collaborationist Vichy regime.

To close out the month, we’ll be joined by literary critics Adam Kirsch and Judith Shulevitz for a discussion of Lionel Trilling and the evolving place of the critic in today’s intellectual world.

To round things out, we’ll have two musical offerings in February. For kids, we’ll have a pre-Purim bash with the Mama Doni Band on the 26th, and on the 15th we’ll feature the neo-cantorial stylings of Jeremiah Lockwood and his band Sway Machinery.

Click here to purchase tickets for the above programs and for more information.

Image: Lady Gaga and Mayor Bloomberg ring in the new year.

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