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Understanding the relationship between mother-tongue and father-land among German-Jewish thinkers of the XX century

Project description

Language and land in Jewish national identity

National identities rely on the historical relationship between language and territory. However, some diaspora communities like the Jews have shaped their national identity in a displaced homeland and through communities speaking different languages. The EU-funded HOME-LANG project will examine the link between language, identities and exile amongst German-Jewish thinkers of the 20th century to understand the exact relationship between mother tongue and homeland, as well as the role of gender in this conceptual pair. The project will explore the role of historical events such as the Shoah and the establishment of the State of Israel in reshaping this relationship.


National identities are, broadly speaking, built on the historical correspondence between homeland and language. Still, this combination does not apply to Diaspora communities and notably to Jews, whose identity along centuries was rooted in a displaced homeland and spread over distinct languages. How should the bond between homeland and language among German-Jewish thinkers of the XX century be conceptualized? Specifically, what is the exact relationship between mother-tongue and father-land and which role does the gender dimension play in this conceptual pair? How did historical events, such as the Shoah and the foundation of the state of Israel, reshape this relationship? With the aim of examining the bond between language, identities and exile, the HOME-LANG (acronym of the project) will build on my expertise in Jewish contemporary philosophy on the one hand, and on the skills in archival methodologies developed at the University Pompeu Fabra of Barcelona (UPF) on the other. The results of the project will boost my scholarly profile at the international level; they will consolidate UPF as an interdisciplinary hub for cutting-edge research on Diaspora and Jewish studies; finally, they will foster communication between scholars, practitioners and general public at the core of contemporary debates on migration, multiculturalism and the construction of a shared European identity.


Net EU contribution
€ 160 932,48
08002 Barcelona

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Este Cataluña Barcelona
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 160 932,48