It has now been twenty years since Christopher Browning gave the first Madison Mosse Lectures in 2002. Two years later, the first Jerusalem Mosse Lectures with Jan Assmann took place. Since then, leading scholars have presented new research in both cities every two years.
This fall I am excited to invite you to attend Mosse Lectures in both Madison and in Jerusalem. In Madison from 7-9 November, Elisheva Carlebach (Columbia) will speak on “Gender and the Jewish Archive.”
And in Jerusalem from 5-7 December, Celia Applegate (Vanderbilt) will lecture on “Music and Work.” Details for both series are below – watch the Program homepage for the final Jerusalem details and publicity.
We are thrilled to resume the George L. Mosse Graduate Exchange Fellowship between UW-Madison and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem this fall, for which we are welcoming seven new Fellows this year. They are engaged in a variety of important scholarly conversations including: the Jewish experience of hiding in the Netherlands during the Second World War, the history of forced labor in the USSR, how the Cold War shaped Holocaust memory, whistleblowing and big data leaks in journalism, reconciliation efforts in the Balkans, the Israeli reception of Foucault, and the role of opinion polling in East Germany.
NB: Carol Poore donated the 1992 Hermand-Mosse interview
This has been an exciting summer with new Fellows, new books, and even some new George L. Mosse stories! We are looking forward to the new academic year in Madison and in Jerusalem.
In response to the unprecedented challenges created by COVID-19, the Mosse Program created two new Fellowships for the coming academic year. The recipients, Amit Levy and Abigail Lewis, are both completing PhDs in European cultural history. You can read more about Lewis's study of photography during the French occupation and Levy's focus on the transmission of knowledge in Oriental Studies, as well as about our other Mosse Fellows on the Program site.
George L. Mosse Program in History Newsletters
We are still not back in the George L. Mosse Humanities Building. But we hope to return to our offices before the end of the summer. Thinking of our offices and the building, it is striking how campus and the city at large has developed a love-hate relationship with the Humanities.
Indeed, the only thing Madisonians agree about the Mosse Humanities Building is that everyone should have a developed opinion of the place. The local publications on the building’s history, aesthetics, and myths are legion and often hyperbolic: “How the Humanities Building Went Wrong,” “The Building We Love to Hate,” “Oh! the Humanities Building!,” “Mosse Humanities Building ‘is like Dracula,” “Embracing the Brute,” and a couple of years ago the somewhat misleading: “Even George L. Mosse Didn’t Like the Humanities Building.”
This year few of us can travel. The Mosse Program had to cut short the Graduate Exchange program last March. Fortunately, all of our Fellows returned back to Madison and to Jerusalem safely. Below you can find links to blog posts about their experiences in Israel and in Madison during the initial stages of the pandemic.
Though we cannot safely board airplanes and trains, I invite you to once again join us in the Mosse Mobile in Berlin last summer. If you recall, four of us spent several days documenting Mosse sites in greater Berlin before “Mosse’s Europe.” After we explored the ruined Mosse villa at Schenkendorf we set out for the village in Robert’s grey Peugeot 206.
The Mosse family developed close ties to the greater Schenkendorf community after Rudolf Mosse purchased the estate in 1896.
We prepared this twentieth anniversary newsletter before COVID-19 disrupted our campuses and lives. Like all of you, the Mosse Program has been affected by the virus. Our Madison and Jerusalem Fellows have returned home. Professor Amos Bitzan, on exchange to the Hebrew University, has written about his experience in Jerusalem during the ongoing pandemic on the blog. We are thinking about everyone in the Mosse network and hope that this message finds you safe and well.
In the midst of this unsettling time, we thought it would be encouraging to share with you the remarkable successes of our Fellows. We hope that the enthusiasm in the letter will help us resume our regular work with renewed energy as soon as we are able. While there is much uncertainty at the moment, I am proud to share the work of the Program and its fellows with you.
Before our “Mosse’s Europe” conference opened this June, I set out with four friends of the Mosse Program - John Tortorice, Chad Gibbs, Bill Tishler, and Robert Mueller-Stahl - to document the Mosse family sites in greater Berlin. Robert acted as the fearless captain of the “Mosse Mobile” - a gray Peugeot 206. Our Mosse Mobile journey was a memorable and powerful experience.
Over four days, Robert drove us, our cameras, and recording gear across Berlin and Brandenburg. In our search for traces of the Mosse family, we visited the former Mosse Tageblatt headquarters on the corner of Jerusalemer and Schützenstrasse; the Emilie und Rudolf Mosse Stift, where the couple sponsored the education of disadvantaged Berlin youth; the Mosse Palais on Leipzigerplatz; and Mosse graves in the Weissensee Cemetery.
Please join us in Berlin this June for our conference, "Mosse's Europe: New Perspectives in the History of German Judaism, Fascism, and Sexuality." You can read the latest draft program here. On the occasion of the 100th birthday of Professor George L. Mosse three generations of historians will gather to commemorate and analyze his ongoing influence in European, Jewish, and Gender history, as well as the continued resonance of the Mosse family legacy in Berlin. Scholars from Germany, Israel, and the United States will meet in Mosse’s childhood city of Berlin, to discuss the questions that continue to emerge from his research, including: How does gender as a category of analysis continue to modify our understanding of nineteenth- and twentieth-century Europe? What are the limits of liberalism? What role do racial stereotypes play in political culture before and after 1945? And how have historians expanded Mosse’s analysis of Nazi ideology to better understand the Holocaust and the history of modern Europe.
I write on the threshold of two momentous anniversaries: this September will be George L. Mosse’s 100th birthday and next spring will be the twentieth anniversary of the program he endowed, the George L. Mosse Program in History. In addition to a full program of ongoing activities, we have coordinated two conferences to celebrate these important milestones. The first focused on the crisis of liberal democracy and took place this past March in Rome. Here I was struck by how Mosse's writings continue to resonate in Italy among a new generation of historians. The second, "Mosse's Europe," will be held in Berlin this June, 2019. In addition to these conferences, the Mosse Program remains highly active. One example of this is our online course, "Racism, Antisemitism, and the Fate of Liberalism, 1890-1945." This course utilizes lectures delivered by Mosse between the 1970s and 1990s. This past year, students and alumni from Europe, Asia, the U.S., and the Middle East took the class, and enjoyed sitting in on lectures given by one of the great teachers of his generation. I hope you will join me this January for what is sure to be a memorable experience.