'Space' as a Category in the Research of the History of the Jews in Poland (16th – 19th Centuries)

11.-12.09.2017, Workshop, Warschau

German Historical Institute in Warsaw in cooperation with The Tadeusz Manteuffel Institute of History of the Polish Academy of Sciences and The Polin Museum of the History of Polish Jews

'Space' is a category often used by anthropologists, sociologists and historians. Over the last couple of decades, many historical works describing some historical spaces have been published. Jewish scholars have devoted their attention to this category as well. It seems that in the Jewish context, this category might be very significant. The Jews lived in a place among the other nationalities, and they constructed social spaces in interaction with Christian neighbors, while also simultaneously creating a spiritual space. Although this category of 'space' has been used in historical research and in Jewish Studies, there is as yet no research which has adopted the category in the research of the history of Polish Jews in the early modern period and the early 19th century. 
The aim of our workshop is to show how the category of 'space' can be used in the research of the history of the Jews in Poland from the 16th century to the early 19th century. 
As a basis for our workshop we propose using the definition of 'space' formed by Henry Lefebvre. Following his criteria, we plan to divide our workshop into 3 sections in which we will examine different aspects of space. 
1. Spatial practices – which means the daily activities of spaces 
2. Representation of spaces – abstract concepts that represent different spaces ( e.g., architecture, laws )
3. Lived spaces as a response to spaces and its representation in symbols. 
We invite scholars representing historical disciplines and other social sciences to submit proposals under one of these headings. Presentations devoted to daily activities of space would mean, for example, economic activity, daily interactions with Christians, and the like; those focused on abstract concepts would be, for example, laws determining Jewish life in Old Poland, the structure of the Jewish community, the history of architecture; and those describing symbolical concepts connected to space. Papers exploring multi- or interdisciplinary approaches and comparative in character will be especially welcome. We are eager to encourage scientists from different perspectives and viewpoints to discuss these and more questions. 

The conference will be held in English.
Conference venue: Warsaw, Polin Museum of the History of Polish Jews


Dr. Maria Cieśla 
Deutsches Historisches Institut Warschau
Al. Ujazdowskie 39 
Tel.: +48/22 - 525 8330; 
Fax: +48/22 - 5258337; 
E-Mail: ciesla(at)dhi.waw.pl