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Colonialism and the Jews

The lively essays collected here explore colonial history, culture, and thought as it intersects with Jewish studies. Connecting the Jewish experience with colonialism to mobility and exchange, diaspora, internationalism, racial discrimination, and Zionism, the volume presents the work of Jewish historians who recognize the challenge that colonialism brings to their work and sheds light on the diverse topics that reflect the myriad ways that Jews engaged with empire in modern times. Taken together, these essays reveal the interpretive power of the "Imperial Turn" and present a rethinking of the history of Jews in colonial societies in light of postcolonial critiques and destabilized categories of analysis. A provocative discussion forum about Zionism as colonialism is also included.

About the Authors

Ethan B. Katz is Associate Professor of History at the University of Cincinnati. He is author of The Burdens of Brotherhood: Jews and Muslims from North Africa to France and the coeditor of Secularism in Question: Jews and Judaism in Modern Times.

Lisa Moses Leff is Professor of History at American University. She is author of Sacred Bonds of Solidarity: The Rise of Jewish Internationalism in Nineteenth-Century France (2006) and The Archive Thief: The Man Who Salvaged French Jewish History in the Wake of the Holocaust (2015).

Maud S. Mandel is Professor of History and Director of the Program in Jewish Studies at Brown University. She is author of In the Aftermath of Genocide: Armenians and Jews in Twentieth-Century France (2003) and Muslims and Jews in France: History of a Conflict (2014).

Reviews

" Colonialism and the Jews is scholarship at its best, offering us new ways of thinking through difficult political questions. The volume reminds us that sound research and reasoned argument, while not an alternative to politics, can play a critical role by extracting the poisonous passion that mars so much political debate and clarifying the terms for political progress."—John Strawson, Fathom

"This collection of essays . . .provides a far-reaching and timely overview of the thorny and often contentious issue of the relationship between Jews and colonialism"—Quest

"Taken as whole, Colonialism and the Jews couples Jewish history with the history of colonialism and imperialism in an innovative manner, providing valuable insights for both disciplines."—KULT online

"This important volume raises questions that only come up when views from several different research traditions are juxtaposed: in this case Jewish history with 'general history' and also issues linking Jewish history in Europe and the Middle East and North Africa. . . . The contributors are recognized scholars in their respective fields."—Harvey Goldberg, author of Sephardi and Middle Eastern Jewries

"This nuanced and thoughtful collection opens up the study of Jews and colonialism, for the first time, to comprehensive scholarly scrutiny. Building on much new work on North Africa and the Middle East—and drawing on British, French, German, Polish and Russian sources—the volume addresses head-on the disputable place of Jews in colonial history and of colonialism in Jewish history. The collection complicates the usual position of seeing Jews as archetypal "in-between" figures—both colonial and colonized—by understanding Jews (and other racialized groups) as both the subjects and agents of empire, and as being actively involved in local and global colonial and anticolonial politics. Colonialism and the Jews is an essential intervention in a contentious subject area that hitherto has generated more heat than light."—Bryan Cheyette, author of Diasporas of the Mind:Jewish/Postcolonial Writing and the Nightmare of History

"This extraordinary volume brings together some of the deepest thinkers working in the fields of colonialism and Jewish history today, to wrestle not simply with the old canard of whether colonialism was 'good' or 'bad' for the Jews, but rather with more contemporary and elusive concerns like the distinction between colonial discourse and practice, the liminal spaces between colonizer and colonized, and how different forms of imperialism are experienced on the ground vs. in the metropoles."—Emily Gottreich, author of The Mellah of Marrakesh

"This book . . . will become a staple on reading lists and deservedly so."—English Historical Review

"The editors have produced an impressive volume. It not only enriches our understanding of Jews and colonialism in the Francophone empire and as regards to Zionism: it also provides inspiration for those interested in how Jews interacted with other imperial settings..."—Shira Klein - Chapman University, Journal of Modern History
Indiana University Press
The Modern Jewish Experience

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