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

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - HOME-LANG (Understanding the relationship between mother-tongue and father-land among German-Jewish thinkers of the XX century)

Okres sprawozdawczy: 2021-10-01 do 2023-09-30

The overarching research goal of HOME-LANG was to explore the complicated relationship between homeland, language, and identity, with a particular focus on German- Jewish intellectuals. National identities have historically been constructed around the connection between homeland and language. However, this traditional formula does not necessarily apply to diaspora communities, especially the Jewish community, whose identity has been intricately woven through centuries of displacement and encompasses multiple languages. While the relationship between Jewish diaspora and identity has received attention in various fields such as philosophical-religious studies, intellectual history, cultural studies, border studies, and postcolonial studies, a comprehensive examination of the interplay between exile, language, and identity from a philosophical perspective is lacking. In the project HOME-LANG, I addressed the linguistic dimensions of diaspora as perceived by Jewish thinkers such as Fritz Mauthner, Gustav Landauer, Franz Rosenzweig, Margarete Susman, Walter Benjamin, Elazar Benyöetz, and Rose Ausländer.

The results of HOME-LANG are significant in several respects. From a philosophical and political perspective, the unique exploration of the interplay between exile, identity, and language offers valuable insights into the constructions of nationalism and patriotism. On the one hand, it encourages a critical examination of narrow political conceptions. On the other hand, the concept of a diasporic philosophy of language, which I have explored at length in my articles and in my book, proves to be a powerful hermeneutic tool for understanding the contemporary challenges we face.
The goal was about exploring the intersection between their interpretations of language and the complicated issues surrounding exile, identity, statehood, and borders, from the perspective of Jewish hermeneutics. The HOME-LANG project pursued three interrelated research objectives:
1) To introduce innovative perspectives to the study of the relationship between exile, language, and identity.
2) To foster an interdisciplinary dialogue between scholars in the fields of political philosophy, philosophy of language, and migration studies.
3) Develop a novel mixed-methods approach that combines existing and original data. This approach combines a theoretical framework with historical and biographical elements to shed light on contemporary philosophy and intellectual history.
I have exceeded my original expectations and reached important. I originally set goals of writing two articles, writing a book, and organizing three workshops, but this project has proven to be more productive and impactful than I originally anticipated. I have exceeded those goals by:
- Writing a book that has been submitted to Brill and is currently being evaluated.
- Publishing 5 articles in English and Italian in 5 peer-reviewed journals.
- Writing 2 book chapters, with 2 more currently being evaluated.
- Compiling a HOME-LANG lexicon as a valuable resource for a wide audience, including practitioners, scholars, think-thanks and those working on issues such as anti-Semitism or hate speech recognition.
- Organizing of 1 international workshops and 1 international conference at UPF.
- Participating in 11 conferences in Germany, Spain, Argentina, the UK, and Israel to disseminate my research findings and connect with the scholarly community.
As for my training objectives, I participated in two valuable training programs offered by CLICK at UPF. The first was a teacher training focused on transgender and non-binary people, and the second was an awareness training focused on addressing male sexist violence. I also had the privilege of participating in a roundtable discussion on the status of women scholars in the Spanish academic context at the UPF. These experiences have proven to be extremely valuable in strengthening my professional profile. They have provided me with strategies to circumvent and address the subtle forms of sexism that are prevalent in academia. In addition, they have empowered me to bring gendered perspectives to my academic writing and my presentations. The lessons learned have also helped improve my teaching methods. During my MSCA tenure, I had the opportunity to teach an undergraduate course directly related to my research project and a master course together with Prof. Zabala. It is worth noting that the student evaluations for the course I taught independently received a remarkable score of 9.5 out of 10.
I have received invaluable feedback from peers and colleagues through the organization of two international workshops and the active participation in numerous conferences where I presented my research findings. In addition to the international workshop and conference I have organized at UPF in February 2022 (on Mother Tongue and Fatherland) and September 2022 (on the Philosophy of Translation), which were closely related to my research, I would like to highlight other academic gatherings that have significantly enriched my research perspective. First, the workshop on Diaspora and Talmud in Venice in October 2021 offered me the opportunity to explore a new topic and integrate this fresh perspective into my research. Second, the conference on the early years of Hans Jonas, held in Oxford in July 2022, introduced me to a new author whose work could be examined through the lens of a diasporic philosophy of language. Also, the conference on Margarete Susman, held in Munich and Zurich in September 2022, deepened my understanding of this author and enabled me to include her in my book. Finally, the conference in Haifa on Martin Buber, where I presented my unique interpretation of Buber’s views on language and compared them with the thinking of the feminist philosopher Cavarero, was exceptional in that only women scholars participated. Attending these invited lectures and numerous conferences allowed me to refine the focus of my project and book and improve their methodological robustness. I benefited greatly from a variety of seminars, workshops, and conferences, but most importantly from the insightful feedback I received from my colleagues. This has not only sharpened my analytical skills, but also strengthened my research project and consequently improved my academic profile.
My initial goal was to write two articles, complete a book, and organize three workshops. However, HOME-LANG has proven to be even more productive and influential than I originally anticipated. As mentioned earlier, I have far exceeded these goals. Because I have attended more conferences than originally planned, which has provided me with valuable feedback from researchers, I have decided to reduce the number of workshops at UPF from three to two.

With my open-access publications and the lectures I have given, and with the future publication of my book, which is currently under evaluation, I am contributing not only to academic discourse but also to broader political and social discussions to awaken public opinion on this topic. The critique of a limited concept of nationalism, based on the studies of German-Jewish authors, has already provoked remarkable reactions from Europe and Israel. I am confident that my research offers and will offer an alternative perspective on the relationship between language and state, ultimately outlining a philosophy that embraces humanity’s search for refuge and belonging.