Jewish Identity, the Holocaust, and Anti-Racist Struggles since 1945
Senate House, University of London, 26-27 September 2018
Jews have featured prominently in anti-racist efforts since the end of the Holocaust. From human rights advocacy to the American civil rights movement and the anti-apartheid struggle, Jewish individuals have been energetic participants in as well as supporters of myriad anti-racist causes, even when their communities and leaders have been wary of, or actively hostile to, such work. Some have explained their anti-racist positioning in explicitly Jewish terms, referring to recent Jewish historical experience, or arguing that Judaism is fundamentally a religion of social justice and tikkun olam. Others reject any presumed links between their positioning and their Jewishness; some have indeed disparaged the Jewish tendency to prioritize the particular over the universal.
This conference will focus on how anti-racism has shaped, and been shaped by, Jews’ identities as Jews since 1945. We are interested in Jews who actively identify as Jewish, and the relationship between their anti-racism and their Jewishness. To what extent do they articulate their positioning in Jewish terms? How does the Holocaust inform their engagement with social justice and anti-racist causes? How far is their involvement influenced, implicitly or explicitly, by Jewish history, religion, or ethics, however characterized? To what extent does the Israel-Palestine conflict complicate or unsettle their political commitments?
We welcome paper proposals of historical and contemporary case studies addressing these questions. We are especially interested in how these issues have played out across different generations and in diverse geographical contexts, particularly the global South. Abstracts of proposed papers (up to 300 words) should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Proposals should include a title, the name and affiliation of the participant, a brief biographical note (maximum 100 words), and e-mail address. The conference is co-organised by Professor Shirli Gilbert (University of Southampton) and Professor Deborah Posel (University of Cape Town).
The deadline for proposals is 16 February 2018.