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The Idea of Jewish Sovereignty: The Case of Lewis B. Namier and Isaiah Berlin

A public talk by Arie M. Dubnov, Acting Assistant Professor, Department of History, Stanford University

The lecture offers a fresh reappraisal of the philosopher, political thinker, and historian of ideas Sir Isaiah Berlin (1909-1997). Examining Berlin both as an East European Jewish émigré as well as a British Liberal intellectual, Dubnov stresses the very ambivalent relation between Berlin's unique type of liberal philosophy and his pro-Zionist sentiments. During interwar years, much of Berlin's thought on the subject was influenced by the unique type of "gentry nationalism" proposed by Sir Lewis B. Namier (1888–1960), a Polish-born British Zionist and a meteoric historian of Georgian England. In postwar years, Berlin departed from this path to develop a theory of liberal nationalism that could be best defined as Diaspora Zionism.

Arie Dubnov is an Acting Assistant Professor at Stanford's History Department. Dubnov holds a BA, an MA, and a Ph.D. from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and is a past George L. Mosse Fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His fields of expertise are modern Jewish and intellectual history alongside British history, with a subsidiary interest in nationalism studies.

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