Beauty Queens and Jewish Questions Between the World Wars, Public Lecture by Michael Miller

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Date(s) - 7 Nov 2013
5:30 PM - 6:30 PM

Caulfield Campus, Building H

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bskekorttiIn 1929, Elizabeth Simon (Simon Boske) won the Miss Hungary beauty pageant and then went on to become Miss Europa. After Hungary’s defeat in World War I and its huge territorial losses in 1920, the victory of Miss Hungary over all of the other European contestants was welcomed by Hungarian nationalists as a sign of Hungary’s indomitable spirit . . . until they realized that Elizabeth Simon was a Jew.

This talk will examine the debates in interwar Europe about the Jewish Question, national identity and “Jewish” beauty. It will also compare the Miss Hungary pageant to explicitly “Jewish” beauty pageants in the late 1920s, such as the Miss Judea pageant in Warsaw and the Queen Esther pageant in Tel Aviv, shedding light on the divergent attitudes towards assimilation and acculturation in the Hungarian, Polish and Zionist contexts.

Michael L. Miller is an Associate Professor in the Nationalism Studies program at Central European University in Budapest, where he helped to establish the Jewish Studies Program. He is currently a Harry Starr Fellow in Judaica at Harvard University. He received his Ph.D. in History from Columbia University, where he specialized in Jewish and Central European History. His research focuses on the impact of nationality conflicts on the religious, cultural, and political development of Central European Jewry in the nineteenth century. He is at Monash for a workshop on Jews in postwar Europe.

Thursday 7 November, 5.30 – 6.30 pm.
Lecture Theatre H1.25
Ground Floor, Building H
Monash University Caulfield Campus

No cost, no prior bookings