Modern Jewish Culture Working Group

September 29, 2015

The Modern Jewish Culture Working Group of the Doreen B. Townsend Center for the Humanities fulfills the need for a missing disciplinary focus on the cultures of the Jewish Diaspora in modern times at UC Berkeley. The Working Group meets at and is administered through The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life since 2012.

Coordinated by Francesco Spagnolo (The Magnes and Music Department) and John Efron (History Department), the Working Group fosters conversation throughout the academic year by drawing on faculty, graduate students, and curators from different fields of study, whose research intersects with the subject of Modern Jewish Culture. The group’s conversation is enriched by different theoretical and disciplinary backgrounds, including History, Literature, Art, and Music, as well as varied geographical areas of study. The group’s meetings feature faculty and graduate student presentations followed by moderated discussions. Distinguished visiting scholars and artists are invited to present.

The meetings are held at The Magnes, located at 2121 Allston Way.

The group maintains UNSEMINAR, a tumblr weblog to share information, documents and other resources. At each meeting, participants select items from the holdings of The Magnes Collection, and present them in an inter-disciplinary perspective. The slideshow below presents a choice of the items being discussed.


The Modern Jewish Culture Working Group is sponsored by the Doreen B. Townsend Center for the Humanities of the University of California, Berkeley.

Core Fields


Doreen B. Townsend Center for the Humanities

UNSEMINAR: A Weblog of the Modern Jewish Culture Working Group at UC Berkeley