A Jewish Writer's Longing for Equality: Klara Blum's Journey Eastwards

An on-campus lecture with Viktoria Poetzl (Grinnell College)
Event Image with Title: "A Jewish Writers Longing for Equality: Klara Blum's Journey Eastwards"
Event Date & Time
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Event Location
Social Sciences 710

269 19th Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Through an intersectional comparative literary study that focuses on an under-studied Austrian-Soviet-Chinese writer, Klara Blum/Zhu Bailan (1904-1971), Poetzl highlights a broader understanding of national belonging within Jewish-Austrian literature. In her talk, Poetzl will focus on both the transnational movement of ideas, as well as the transformation of ideas into movements. Poetzl will thus offer Klara Blum/Zhu Bailan and her writings as a case study. By using a variety of sources like newspaper articles, novellas, letters, or poetry, Poetzl outlines Blum's/Zhu's own narration of migration (from Czernowitz in present-day Ukraine, to Austria, to the Soviet Union, and to China), and the migration of theories (Zionism, Socialism, Communism and Feminism). Poetzl argues that Blum/Bailan travels along a theoretical trajectory, carrying her feminism with her, on a journey from Zionism to socialism to communism. Blum did not simply replace one idea with another, however; she folded socialism into her Zionism, and added communism to her socialism. All the while, feminism served as her foundation, her anchor and guiding principle. Blum/Bailan continually sought a lived implementation of gender equality; she had to learn that this was not an automatic consequence of a proclamation of equality. 

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