History and Responsibility: Hebrew Literature and 1948
Stanford University on June 13-14, 2011

In recent decades, the events of 1948 and the question of their moral and political significance have drawn renewed attention from several quarters of Israeli culture. After long years of ruling consensus regarding the factual record and the import of 1948, it now seems as if no concept in Israeli discourse is more fraught with controversy. Indeed, 1948 has become a shibboleth, redrawing the lines of conflict and affiliation within Intellectual circles and academic disciplines as well as in the national political arena. In literature too interest in this period has never been livelier: Yoram Kanyuk, Amos Oz, Nurith Gertz, Meir Shalev, Eshkol Nevo, Michal Govrin (among others) have all published novels and memoirs in recent years that return, each in its own way, to that fateful time and reflect on its consequences.

The goal of our two-day conference is to discuss the resurgence of 1948 in contemporary discourse and examine its significance in the context of Hebrew literature. We will look at the role 1948 has played in prose and verse and discuss the host of aesthetic and moral issues that arise out of attempts to deal with this history. Focusing on questions of memory and responsibility, we will explore the challenges and dangers that attend to the imaginative reconstruction of the past, as well as the promises it may hold.

Conference Chairs:
Hannan Hever, Hebrew University
Amir Eshel, Stanford University
Vered Karti Shemtov, Stanford University

Graduate Student Coordinator:
Nir Evron, Stanford University

Organized by:

Professors Hannan Hever, Vered Karti Shemtov, and Amir Eshel

Graduate Student Coordinator: Nir Evron

Sponsored by:

The Europe Center, The Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, School of Humanities & Sciences, The Taube Center for Jewish Studies, The Center for Ethics in Society at Stanford University.