Decolonial Judaism: Jews, Antisemitism and the Global South

Pears Institute Public Lecture

Event Information and Booking

4th July, 2018
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Birkbeck, University of London, Clore Lecture Theatre, Clore Management Centre, Torrington Square, Bloomsbury, London WC1E 7JL
Professor Santiago Slabodsky, Hofstra University - New York

What happens to Jewish history when we look at it through the lens of anti-colonial struggle? How are histories of Jews and the Global South connected?

In this lecture, Professor Santiago Slabodsky offers an alternative framework for understanding Jewish responses to antisemitism and Jewish history more broadly. Having suffered discrimination in Europe, Jews were able to become some of the sharpest critics of societal inequalities. However, this European antisemitism was not, as is traditionally thought, a product of a timeless hatred of Jews since biblical times, or the development of the nation-state since the nineteenth century. Rather, it was the product of coloniality – a global project of economic, political, and sexual domination in play since the sixteenth century.

Professor Slabodsky argues that during the postcolonial and post-Holocaust era, Jewish thinkers in different parts of the world were influenced by intellectuals in the Global South. By placing Jewish thought in a provocative set of conversations with revolutionaries of Latin America, Africa and the Middle East, he explores the possibilities for a Decolonial Judaism. This veiled history, he contends, has important consequences in an age of Brexit and the emboldening of racisms, Islamophobia and antisemitism around the world.

Santiago Slabodsky is the Florence and Robert Kaufman Endowed Chair in Jewish Studies and Associate Director of the Center for Race, Culture, and Social Justice at Hofstra University, New York. He has served as Visiting Professor at institutions in Europe, Latin America, and Africa offering lectures on Jewish-Muslim relations, Jewish Thought and Politics, Global South Judaisms, Postcolonial Theories, and Intercultural Liberation Theologies. His book Decolonial Judaism: Triumphal Failures of Barbaric Thinking (Plagrave Macmillian, 2015) received the 2017 Frantz Fanon Outstanding Book Award from the Caribbean Philosophical Association.

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