Anti-Jewish Violence in Poland, 1914-1920 and 1945-1946: New Social-Psychological Perspectives

Lecture | February 28 | 5:30-7 p.m. | 270 Stephens Hall

 William Hagen, Professor Emeritus of History, UC Davis

 Institute of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ISEEES)

This talk will summarize the speaker’s arguments in his book, Anti-Jewish Violence in Poland, 1914-1920 (Cambridge UP, 2018), contrasting them with major recent works on the post-World War II years by Polish scholars Joanna Tokarska-Bakir and Marcin Zaremba. It will highlight interpretation focused on popular mentalities, societal traumas, and enactment of routinized, unreflected-upon social-cultural/religious scripts in place of accustomed emphases, whether scholarly or popular, on self-interested action by power elites and “unleashed masses.” While scholarship on modern anti-Jewish violence has stressed its ideological inspiration (“print antisemitism”), the speaker’s research shows that its perpetrators among civilians and soldiers expressed magic-infused anxieties and longings for redemption from present threats and suffering (“folk antisemitism”).