Traverso Awarded Premio Pozzale Award

In July 2014, Enzo Traverso’s most recent book, La fine della modernità ebraica. Dalla critica al potere (Feltrinelli, 2013), was awarded the Premio Pozzale Luigi Russo of the City of Empoli (Florence), one of the oldest Italian literary prizes, established in 1948. His award was shared with Sabino Cassese’s Governare gli Italiani (Il Mulino) and Benedetta Tobagi’s Una stella nel buio (Einaudi). The Prize Committee, which is led by Adriano Prosperi, Professor of History at the Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa, justified its choice with the following words:

“In La fine della modernità ebraica, published in Italy by Feltrinelli, Enzo Traverso adds a new important contribution to his numerous works that have already distinguished him as one of the most original and sensible scholars of the tragedies of the twentieth century. […] This book analyzes the trajectory of “Jewish modernity” which, between the Enlightenment and the Second World War, deeply shaped the critical thought—not only in Europe—highlighting its universalistic and cosmopolitan dimension.  The Jewish diaspora engendered a project of cultural pluralism longing for cooperation between different traditions and identities. Facing persecutions and violence, Jewish intellectuals managed to nourish the philosophical and ethical debates of the interwar period as well as of the post-war democratic transition. Since the decline of anti-Semitism, however, “Jewish modernity” has experienced a transformation putting into question its own foundations. The memory of the Holocaust has taken the form of a ritualistic and necessary “civil religion”, instead of becoming a permanently renewed incitation to fight the forms of racism and exacerbated nationalism that affect Europe today. In this context, Enzo Traverso’s book—as well as his previous A ferro e fuoco (2007) and Il secolo armato (2012), with which it forms a coherent trilogy—contributes to a critical rethinking of the experience of the past and offers useful intellectual tools to a new generation which is waiting impatiently for a new “horizon of expectation.”