“Economic Racism in Perspective: Past and Present in the US and Germany” – A November 2014 Event Series

in Uncategorized
August 8th, 2014

The Elie Wiesel Center for Judaic Studies at Boston University is pleased to present “Economic Racism in Perspective: Past and Present in the US and Germany,” a series of events scheduled for November 2014 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the passage of 1964 Civil Rights Act and consider more broadly the dangers of economic discrimination. By considering both the American and German examples, the Center aims at encouraging a wide-ranging discussion of the consequences of racism in commercial life.

Linking the events is “Final Sale. The End of Jewish Businesses in Nazi Berlin,” a historical exhibition on economic segregation in Nazi Berlin. Based on new research, the exhibition explores the fate of 16 small businesses, focusing on the entrepreneurs who built them and their struggle to survive in an increasingly segregated and racist business environment, from internationally renowned theater director Max Reinhardt to a family of egg wholesalers. “Final Sale” will be on display throughout the month of November at the Rubin-Frankel Gallery (213 Bay State Road, Boston, MA 02215).

To explore the connection between economic racism and political violence, an international scholarly conference, entitled “Dispossession. The Plundering of German Jewry, 1933-1945 and Beyond,” will take place from November 9-11, 2014. “Dispossession” brings together twenty-five scholars from different countries working on the financial history and cultural meanings of the Nazi theft of assets belonging to Jews. The panels will engage with the legal, financial, and cultural techniques used to exclude and expropriate German Jews as well as transitional justice in the immediate postwar period.

The American story of economic discrimination and its persistent effects will be considered by experts Robert Margo and Japonica Brown-Saracino, in two lectures that will focus on the insidious legacy of segregation in American commerce (Nov 13 and Nov 20).

Nov 6, 7pm: FINAL SALE opening reception

Rubin-Frankel Gallery, BU Hillel House.

Nov 9-11: DISPOSSESSION international conference

Program available on request.

Nov 9, 5pm:  Christoph Kreutzmüller: Key-note lecture on “Kristallnacht and the Destruction of Jewish Commercial Activity in Germany”

Dr. Christoph Kreutzmüller is Senior Researcher and Educator, Museum at the House of the Wannsee Conference.

Nov 13, 7pm: Robert A. Margo: “Obama, Katrina, and the Persistence of Racial Inequality”

Professor Robert Margo is the former chair of the BU Economics Department and incoming president of the Economic History Association.

Nov 20, 7pm: Japonica Brown-Saracino“The Last Store Standing: Commerce as Force, Symbol and Casualty in the Gentrifying American City”

Dr. Brown-Saracino is Associate Professor in the BU Sociology Department and author of the prize-winning book A Neighborhood That Never Changes: Gentrification, Social Preservation, and the Search for Authenticity (2009, University of Chicago Press).

Location: All events will take place at the Florence and Chafetz Hillel House at Boston University, 213 Bay State Road, Boston, MA 02215. For more information, go to bu.edu/judaicstudies/dispossession, contact the Elie Wiesel Center at judaics@bu.edu, or call 617.353.8096. All events, with the exception of the Dispossession conference, are free and open to the public.

Program Director: Professor Jonathan Zatlin, History Department

Sponsors: Eli Wiesel Center for Judaic Studies, German Historical Institute (Washington D.C.), BU Center for the Humanities, Florence and Chafetz Hillel House, BU History Department, Jewish Cultural Endowment, Arvind and Chandan Nandlal Kilachand Honors College, BU Alumni Association, Memorial Museum at the House of the Wannsee Conference (Berlin), Aktives Museum – Widerstand und Faschismus (Berlin), BU Law School, BU Economics Department, BU Sociology Department