Program Recap: Emma Goldman, Radical Anarchism and the Opera

September 18, 2023
by Rebeca Miller

This event originally aired on September 12th, 2023 and was co-sponsored with the American Society for Jewish Music the Lowell Milken Center for Music of American Jewish Experience and the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research.

Should a radical anarchist love going to the opera? To answer this complicated question, Dr. Samantha M. Cooper presents on the curious case of Emma Goldman, a Jewish radical anarchist whose assorted writings attest to her strong belief that she could be both a good revolutionary and a committed devotee of the highest of highbrow artforms.

Topics covered in this program: Emma Goldman, anarchist culture, art and revolution, Living My Life, Mother Earth, Paul Robeson, Mary Garden, Alma Gluck, Richard Wagner, Johann Most, Metropolitan Opera.

Dr. Samantha M. Cooper is a historical musicologist who specializes in American Jewish cultural history. She is currently the Ariel and Joshua Weiner Family Visiting Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s Hebert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies (2023-2024), and a recent Harry Starr Postdoctoral Fellow in Judaica at Harvard University’s Center for Jewish Studies (2022-2023). She is working on her first monograph, American Jews and the Making of the New York Opera Industry, 1880-1940. Samantha received her Ph.D. in Historical Musicology at New York University in 2022. Samantha’s research has been supported by fellowships from the Center for Jewish History, the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, P.E.O. International, the American Academy for Jewish Research, and Temple University’s Feinstein Center for American Jewish History. Her publications have appeared in American Jewish History, as well as the Journal of the Society for American Music, Journal of Synagogue Music, Journal of Musicological Research, Society for American Music Bulletin, and Musica Judaica. Samantha is the producer and host of The Sounding Jewish podcast, and the Co-Executive Director of the Jewish Music Forum, A Project of the American Society for Jewish Music.