The 2015 Mann Distinguished Symposium
China and the Jews in the Modern Era
Date: Sunday, 19 April 2015. 8:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Place: Mershon Center, Room 120 & Lounge, OSU
(1501 Neil Ave., Columbus, OH 43201)
Flyer: China and the Jews in the Modern Era (pdf)
Program: Symposium program page
While Jews never constituted more than a tiny fraction of a percent of the Chinese population, their presence in the country and relationship with Chinese culture have been significant. This relationship has occurred in a number of contexts.
There was a Chinese Jewish community in Kaifeng during the late Middle Ages whose remnants have remained until the present. Jews from Baghdad came to China in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to trade in opium and other merchandise. Russian Jews came to Harbin and other Chinese communities to escape violence in Eastern Europe in the early twentieth century, and a large number of Jews came to live in Shanghai during World War Two, where they were saved from death at the hand of the Nazis.
More recently there has been a considerable interest in Jews and their culture in Chinese academia, where several specialists in Jewish studies now have faculty appointments. Finally, a highly disproportionate number of Jewish families—including a number in Central Ohio—adopt Chinese children, creating another context of relations between Jews and China.
This one-day Jews-in-China symposium, featuring a distinguished international group of scholars, will explore aspects of the relationship between Jews and China in modernity.