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Rooted Cosmopolitans: Jews and Human Rights in the Twentieth Century

Posted 10/02/2018
Submitted by Avinoam Patt
Category: Campus Announcements, Student Announcements
Prof. James Loeffler

Prof. James Loeffler

On Monday, October 8 at 7pm, the Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies will host Professor James Loeffler who will discuss his recently published book Rooted Cosmopolitans: Jews and Human Rights in the Twentieth Century (Yale University Press).

The lecture, which will take place in the Bercowetz Research Library and Commons in the Greenberg Center, is free and open to the public. Seating is limited and reservations are required. Please contact Susan Gottlieb at or 860-768-5018.

The year 2018 marks the seventieth anniversary of two momentous events in twentieth-century history: the birth of the State of Israel and the creation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Both remain tied together in the ongoing debates about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, global antisemitism, and American foreign policy. Yet the surprising connections between Zionism and the origins of international human rights are completely unknown today. In his new book, James Loeffler explores this controversial history through the stories of five remarkable Jewish founders of international human rights, following them from the prewar shtetls of eastern Europe to the postwar United Nations, a journey that includes the Nuremberg and Eichmann trials, the founding of Amnesty International, and the UN resolution of 1975 labeling Zionism as racism. The result is a book that challenges long-held assumptions about the history of human rights and offers a startlingly new perspective on the roots of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

 James Loeffler is associate professor of history and Jewish
 studies at the University of Virginia and former Robert A.
 Savitt Fellow at the Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust
Studies of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
 He received his AB from Harvard and his MA and PhD from 
Columbia University. A specialist in Jewish and European history, and the history of human rights, his publications include The Most Musical Nation: Jews and Culture in the Late Russian Empire (Yale University Press, 2010) which was recognized for several awards.

The evening is made possible by the University of Hartford Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies, the UConn Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life, and the UConn Department of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages.

Prof. James Loeffler

Prof. James Loeffler