For anyone interested in the subject of counterfactualism and Jewish history, the upcoming Association for Jewish Studies Conference in Boston offers several interesting panels:
I. First, there is the topic of “Alternate Israels” (Sunday, 12/15, from 4:15 to 6:15). The four speakers are all contributors to my forthcoming edited volume of Jewish alternate histories, 'If Only We Had Died in Egypt': What Ifs of Jewish History from Abraham to Zionism, and include:
“What If a Christian State Had Been Established in Palestine?”
Derek Penslar (University of Toronto/University of Oxford)
“What if a Bi-National State Had Arisen in Palestine?”
David Myers (University of California, Los Angeles)
“What If the Arabs Had Been Willing to Compromise Before 1948?
Kenneth W. Stein (Emory University)
“What If Franz Kafka Had Immigrated to Palestine?”
Iris Bruce (McMaster University)
II. There is also a second interesting panel entitled, “Mapping Ararat: An Imaginary Jewish Homelands Project” (Monday, 12/16, from 4:30-6:30), that "stages an historical fiction using digital multimedia including augmented reality to imagine Mordecai Noah's unrealized plan from 1825 to transform Grand Island New York into Ararat, city of refuge for the Jews.”
I will be a discussant, along with Jennifer Glaser, Shelley Hornstein, Todd Presner, Jeffrey Shandler, Melissa Shiff, and Louis Perry Kaplan.
III. Finally, I will be presenting a paper on “Counterfactualism and the Holocaust” in a panel entitled, “The Holocaust and the Historical Imagination: New Cultural Approaches to the Nazi Genocide (Sunday, 12/15, from 9:30 to 11:00am).” Also presenting will be another one of our volume’s contributors, Eugene Sheppard, “A Day of Reckoning: The Nazi Leadership on Trial and the Question of War Crimes in 1943,” and Alon Confino, “A World Without Jews.”
If you are interested in attending, you can register for the conference at the AJS website.