CANCELLED - On Zionism and Melancholia: An alternative history

CANCELLED - On Zionism and Melancholia: An alternative history

Tuesday, 3 March 2020 - 2:15pm
Nitzan Lebovic (Lehigh)
Yaacov Yadgar (OSGA and DPIR)
Israel Studies Seminar


On Zionism and Melancholia tells the story of the early Zionist settlement in Palestine from the viewpoint of failure and melancholia.  An untold history of this period ignores the high rate of suicides and cases of clinical depression among the Zionist pioneers. Literary texts, letters, and diaries, often started from a utopian and a revivalist viewpoint and quickly shifted to a deep melancholic understanding of the Jewish Yishuv. However, in some cases, they also opened a new perspective into alternative politics, storytelling, and personal identity. 


Nitzan Lebovic received his B.A. in History and Theory of Literature from Tel Aviv University and his Ph.D. from UCLA. His first book, titled The Philosophy  of Life and Death: Ludwig Klages and the Rise of a Nazi Biopolitics (2013) focuses on the circle around the Lebensphilosophie and anti-Semitic thinker Ludwig Klages. His second book, Zionism and Melancholy: The Short Life of Israel Zarchi, came out in Hebrew in 2015 and was published in June 2019 with the "New Jewish Philosophy and Thought" series at Indiana University Press. Nitzan is also co-editor of The Politics of Nihilism (2014) and of Catastrophes: A History and Theory of an Operative Concept (2014), and has authored special issues of Rethinking History (Nihilism), Zmanim (Religion and Power), and The New German Critique (Political Theology), Comparative Literature and Culture (Complicity and Dissent), and Political Theology (Prophetic Politics).