Jacques Picard is one of the world’s leading Jewish scholars. He is Professor Emeritus of General and Jewish History and Modern Cultures at the University of Basel. He was head of the Institute for Jewish Studies and a member of the Executive management of the Seminar for Cultural Studies and European Ethnology at the Department of Social Sciences. From 2006 to 2011 he was the Dean of Research at the Faculty of Philosophy and History at the University of Basel. He was also a member of the Executive Committee of the Center for Cultural Topographies at the University of Basel.
The focus of his scholarship has been the transformations of cultural traditions and intellectual ideas in the global context. Jewish history and cultures in Europe and Northern
America and the history and cultures of Switzerland are part of these special interests. He has just completed the manuscript for his new book entitled Power and Stigma of Icons, a history from antiquity to modern times on interactions between the arts and aesthetic philosophy, idolatries and iconoclasm as well as Holocaust remembrance in sacred and secular dimensions.
Jacques Picard was one of the editors of Makers of Jewish Modernity: Thinkers, Artists, Leaders and the World they Made published by Princeton University Press in 2016, a
compilation of 40 essays on figures such as Rosa Luxembourg, Franz Kafka, Sigmund Freud, and Joel and Ethan Coen. It includes a general introduction that situates its subjects within the broader context of Jewish modernity. The book won a National Jewish Book Award. From 1996 to 2001 he was a member of the Independent Commission of Experts Switzerland
Second World War appointed by the Swiss government. Today he is a member of the board of trustees of various scientific institutions.
He will address the complexities of being a scholar and an academic in a contemporary context while addressing the trajectory of one of the world’s most ancient religions and
civilizations, one with a complex history of persecutions, which has however, played a critical role in creating the modern world.