Professor Maiken Umbach – Jewish Experience in Britain

11 May 2022

Y8 English Talk Jewish Shakespeare sq

Maiken Umbach, Professor of Modern History at Nottingham University, visited NLCS to talk to Year 8 about Jewish experience in Britain.

She began with open questions about Shakespeare’s depiction of Shylock, in ‘The Merchant of Venice’, and the ways in which this may respond to demonising myths circulating at that time. Having recently studied this text, Year 8 were able to offer interesting views and questions of their own and the talk evolved into a dialogue exploring more widely the ways in which literature might endorse, process or challenge contemporary modes of thought, such as Dickens and race science.

The mutually arrived at conclusion seemed to be that we should not avoid problematic texts but should always seek to be fully informed and to interrogate the texts within the contexts of their production.