Esther Dischereit to Present Faculty Colloquium on March 25, 2019

Esther Discherit

On Monday, March 25, Esther Dischereit will present "Jewish Lives and the Situation in Germany - Regarding Others and 'Us' in the Public Sphere" for our Faculty Colloquium series. A kosher lunch will be provided.

The talk will be held from 12:30 - 1:30 pm, in Oak Hall 236 and is free and open to the public. It is made possible by the Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life, the Human Rights Institute, the Humanities Institute, and the Department of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages.

If you require an accommodation to participate, please contact Pamela Weathers at 860-486-2271 or

About the Talk

The situation of Jews in Germany cannot be separated from the situation of other minority groups, and a close look reveals that one is reflected in and through the others. Many Muslims have been prompted to find civic interlocutors among the Jewish minority by the ways in which the majority population in German society has questioned whether and how they might "belong." In 2018, the Turkish and Turkish-German community in Germany witnessed the end of the so-called NSU trial against a member of a terrorist cell that called itself "National Socialist Underground (NSU)." The group was responsible for the murder of at least nine persons with migration background and a police officer. The number of arson attacks on refugee housing rose dramatically, and right-wing terrorists circulate lists of Jewish targets for potential attacks. Turkish and Jewish organizations call for investigations to continue and to recognize migrant perspectives in tackling racial attacks.

How does this effect "us"? To answer this, I must first ask, in addition: Who is this "us"? How ought "we," as Jewish citizens and migrants, respond to racialized hate crimes not sufficiently investigated by law enforcement and the judiciary in Germany? My talk will address some aspects of the current situation of Jews in light of the rise of AfD populist party politics in Germany and of German-American relations after the elections of Trump in the U.S.

About the Speaker

Esther Dischereit is currently DAAD Chair in Contemporary Poetics at NYU. She is described by her publisher, Suhrkamp Verlag, as “possibly the preeminent German-Jewish voice of the post-Shoah generation.”  She has published fiction, poetry and essays, as well as plays for radio and the stage. She is the founder of the avant-garde-project WordMusic and has worked as a curator for various projects in contemporary art/new media. She has collaborated with the dancer and choreographer Holly Handman-Lopez, the composer and percussionist Ray Kaczynski, Djane İpek İpekçioğlu, the concept artists Riccardo Ajossa, beate maria wörz and many others most recently with the calligrapher Veruschka Goetz. She has been a Fellow at the Moses Mendelssohn Centre for European and Jewish Studies and holds frequent lectures and readings in the United States, Canada, Israel, South America and Europe. Dischereit has received many prizes for her work, including the Erich Fried Prize in 2009.