Jewish pioneer youth in interwar Czechoslovakia – crafting the chosen body – ONLINE

A lecture by Daniela Bartáková (Masaryk Institute and Archives of the Czech Academy of Science), in the frame of the seminar on Modern Jewish History organized by the Masaryk Institute and Archives of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Charles University,  CEFRES and the Prague Center for Jewish Studies.

Where: The session will be conducted over a videoconferencing platform. Registration:
When: Wednesday 19 May 2020, from 5:30 pm to 7 pm

Language: English


Jewish pioneer youth movements played a crucial role in the practical realization of socialist Zionism. Their activities focused on the achievement of social, national, political, and cultural goals, and last but not least, members of these movements were actively involved in the concept of building the new chosen body on the individual and collective level.
The talk will focus on the discursive understanding of the Zionist movement, its dynamic processes, and practices of social and national community shaping, which utilized the methods of bio-power on the level of individuals as well as the whole nation. Both anatomo-politics and biopolitics have become part of Zionist discursive practices. Through the adoption of these practices, Jewish pioneers contributed actively to the formation of the founding myths of the Zionist movement and the negation of the diaspora allegedly discredited through effeminacy and degeneration. Thus, they helped to reproduce the myth of returning to Palestine as the only possible way of regenerating the Jewish nation, its “normalization” and returning to history. Members of pioneer youth movements promoted a synthesis between socialism and nationalism in Palestine, which was to provide an alternative to the passive bourgeois, orthodox life of the paternal generation. The idea of equality has become one of the mobilizing motives for joining both movements. The “red assimilation” became a competitor to the Zionist movement and an alternative for pioneer Jewish youth.