The Selig Brodetsky Memorial Lecture 2023

For this year's lecture, we welcome Dr Amir Teicher (Tel Aviv University) who will speak on Mendeling Jews: A History of Racial Genetics.

Dr Amir Teicher is currently Senior Lecturer in the Department of History at Tel Aviv University and the author of Social Mendelism: Genetics and the Politics of Race in Germany, 1900–1948 (Cambridge University Press, 2020). An abstract of Amir’s talk can be found below.

The lecture will take place in the Esther Simpson Lecture Theatre on the University of Leeds campus.

It is free to attend and all are welcome. There is no need to book in advance.

A wine reception will follow.

Mendeling Jews: A History of Racial Genetics

Within hereditarian thought during the late nineteenth century, Jews were singled out as hereditarily different by Jewish and non-Jewish scholars alike. Prevailing theories on the mechanisms of heredity were mobilized to account for the physiognomic, physiological and cultural attributes of European Jewry.

The beginning of the twentieth century saw the rise of Mendelism, with racial theories reconfigured to fit the emerging discipline of genetics. How did Jews — as researchers and as objects of scientific study — fit into the new Mendelian paradigm? In this talk, Dr Amir Teicher will explore these questions, focusing on Germany between 1900 and 1950.

About the Selig Brodetsky Memorial Lectures

This series of annual lectures was established in memory of Selig Brodetsky (1888–1954), who occupied the Chair of Applied Mathematics at the University of Leeds from 1924 to 1948. Following Brodetsky's death in 1954 a number of his friends and admirers founded the series of memorial lectures that bears his name. Each year a lecture is delivered that addresses some aspect of Jewish studies and/or science and mathematics.

The Brodetsky lectures are organized by the Centre for Jewish Studies, in collaboration with the Centre for History and Philosophy of Science (School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science) and the School of Mathematics.

For further information about the lecture, please contact Dr Eva Frojmovic.


A Hitler Youth instructor teaching the definitions of race laid down by the Nuremberg Laws, 1937. Source: Süddeutsche Zeitung. Photo: Scherl, Munich.