The Collegium Lecture 2019 by Daniel Boyarin (May 27, 5 pm)

The Collegium Lecture is the HCAS’s main annual event and takes place every spring. The speakers are well-known global academic figures. The list of former lecturers includes, inter alia, Carolyn Abbate, Carlo Ginsburg, John Dunn, Joan Scott, Nikolas Rose, Nancy Frazer and Dipesh Chakrabarty.


The Collegium Lecture 2019 by Daniel Boyarin (Berkeley):  

“Diaspora Nation; or, What is the Jews?”


From the web page of Daniel Boyarin

Time: Monday, May 27 at 5 pm (with reception)

Venue: University of Helsinki Main Building, Small Hall (Fabianinkatu 33, 4th floor)                       


In this lecture, I will contend that the binary opposition: The Jews is a religion/The Jews is a nation is based on a false dichotomy. It is further flawed by the assumption that nation is tantamount to nation-state such that only the option "religion" constitutes an oppositional position vis-a-vis a Jewish nation state. I will discuss scholarship that proves definitively that many--if not most--early Zionist political thought did not involve the building of a state. The bulk of the lecture will outline the idea of a Diaspora Nation as the once and (possible) future for the continued existence of the Jews.

Speaker Bio:

Daniel Boyarin, Taubman Professor of Talmudic Culture and rhetoric, UC Berkeley received his Ph. D. in 1975 from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. He has been an NEH Fellow (twice), a Guggenheim Fellow, a Fellow of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Jerusalem, a holder of the Berlin Prize at the American Academy in Berlin and a Ford Foundation Fellow. He spent the academic year 2012-2013 as a fellow of the Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin and was a Humboldt Research Award recipient at Freie Universität Berlin in 2017. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences since 2006.

Prof. Boyarin has written extensively on talmudic and midrashic studies, and his work has focused on cultural studies in rabbinic Judaism, including issues of gender and sexuality as well as research on the Jews as a colonized people. His most recent research interests center primarily around questions of the relationship of Judaism and Christianity in late antiquity and the genealogy of the concepts of “religion” and “Judaism.” Current projects include a critical edition of the second chapter of Bavli Pesachim, a biography of Josephus for the Yale Jewish Lives, as well as a book to be entitled “What is the Jews”.

His books include Intertextuality and the Reading of Midrash (1990), Carnal Israel: Reading Sex in Talmudic Culture (1993), A Radical Jew: Paul and the Politics of Identity (1994), and Unheroic Conduct: The Rise of Heterosexuality and the Invention of the Jewish Man (1997), all published by the University of California Press. Further publications include Dying for God: Martyrdom and the Making of Christianity and Judaism (Stanford UP, 1999), Border Lines: The Partition of Judaeo-Christianity (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004), Socrates and the Fat Rabbis (University of Chicago Press, 2009), The Jewish Gospel: The Story of the Jewish Christ (the New Press, 2012), A Traveling Homeland: The Talmud as Diaspora (Penn, 2016), Imagine No Religion (with Carlin Barton; Fordham, 2016) and Judaism: the Genealogy of a Modern Notion (Rutgers University Press, 2018).


Watch the Collegium Lecture 2018 via the link below:

Dipesh Chakrabarty (Univ. of Chicago):

"The Difficulty of Being Modern: Thoughts on Our Time"

17, May 2018, The Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies


The Collegium Lecture 2018 was given by Dipesh Chakrabarty, Lawrence A. Kimpton Distinguished Service Professor of History and South Asian Languages and Civilizations at University of Chicago. The lecture tracks some of the ethical difficulties of being modern at a time when collective human aspirations carry planetary implications. In the process, the lecture brings into conversation some post-human and post-colonial perspectives on modernity.

Professor Dipesh Chakrabarty became known for his research on working-class history, for the Subaltern Studies Collective in which he was a founding member, and the book Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference (2000), an important contribution to postcolonial theory and the study of modernity and globalization. His recent writings deal with the conditions of historiography and historical thought in the age of climate change.