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.
Colonialism and the Jews
Colonialism and the Jews revisits the complexities of the Jewish position in foreign empires during the Imperial Turn. For much of modern history, scholars have avoided the topic for a variety of reasons explored in this anthology. Rather than avoid the complicated relationship between Jews and nineteenth- and twentieth-century European empires, this essay collection confronts the realities, calling particular attention to France and its vast empire. It posits that France is of such interest due to its historical role regarding emancipation and its “paradoxes of inclusion and exclusion.” The third section of this book focuses on Zionism and colonialism. No contemporary book on colonialism would have relevance without a deep examination of Zionism, as it has become a polarizing topic, both within the Jewish community as well as interfaith dialogue. This volume explores topics through a new paradigm, bringing a fresh understanding of history and its implications on modern Jewish life.
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