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The Plot Against America Webinar

Antisemitism, Jewish Anxieties, and Counterfactuals

A Public Webinar Discussion
Tuesday, September 8, 2020

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“I cover antisemitism,” writes Gabe Friedman of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “The Plot Against America is the scariest show I have seen.” The 2020 HBO mini-series is an adaptation of Philip Roth’s 2004 novel of the same name. Both the novel and the mini-series imagine an alternate reality in which Charles A. Lindbergh defeats Franklin Roosevelt in the 1940 presidential election, the US remains neutral, allowing Hitler’s Germany to conquer Europe, and American Jews find themselves vilified and endangered, as Lindbergh’s victory enables overt expressions of antisemitism.


The Center for Jewish Studies at the University of Florida is hosting a panel discussion in live webinar format, to discuss the novel and the HBO production within the context of Antisemitism, Jewish Anxieties, and Counterfactual History, to be followed by a public question and answer session. With us will be:

Rachel Gordan is the Bud Shorstein professor of American Jewish culture. A specialist in Jewish culture in the mid-twentieth century US, Professor Gordon is widely published and her forthcoming book is entitled How Judaism became an American Religion.

Gavriel D. Rosenfeld, professor of history at Fairfield University, is a specialist on the meanings of counterfactual history. His many books include Hi Hitler! How the Nazi Past is Being Normalized In Contemporary Culture (2015), and The Fourth Reich: The Specter of Nazism from World War II to the Present (2020).

Brett Ashley Kaplan, professor of comparative literature at the University of Illinois, is an expert on Holocaust representations in literature and a specialist on Philip Roth. Her books include Unwanted Beauty: Aesthetic Pleasure in Holocaust Representation (2006); Landscapes of Holocaust Postmemory (2010) and Jewish Anxiety and the Novels of Philip Roth (2015)

Jack Kugelmass is the Melton Legislative Professor at the University of Florida and a cultural anthropologist. He has published broadly on Yiddish literature, Holocaust memory in Poland, and Jewish culture in the US. His books include From a Ruined Garden: The Memorial Books of Polish Jewry (1998) and Key Texts in American Jewish Culture (2003).

Moderator: Norman JW Goda is the Norman and Irma Braman Professor of Holocaust Studies at the University of Florida and the Director of the Center for Jewish Studies. His books include Tomorrow the World: Hitler, Northwest Africa, and the Path Toward America (1998); US Intelligence and the Nazis (2005); and Tales from Spandau: Nazi Criminals and the Cold War (2006).


This event is sponsored by the Norman and Irma Braman Chair in Holocaust Studies