Orientalizing the Jew

Orientalizing the Jew

Religion, Culture, and Imperialism in Nineteenth-Century France
Julie Kalman
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 01/16/2017
Format: Paperback 1 b&w illus
ISBN: 978-0-253-02427-5
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Orientalizing the Jew shows how French travelers depicted Jews in the Orient and then brought these ideas home to orientalize Jews living in their homeland during the 19th century. Julie Kalman draws on narratives, personal and diplomatic correspondence, novels, and plays to show how the "Jews of the East" featured prominently in the minds of the French and how they challenged ideas of the familiar and the exotic. Portraits of the Jewish community in Jerusalem, romanticized Jewish artists, and the wealthy Sephardi families of Algiers come to life. These accounts incite a necessary conversation about Jewish history, the history of anti-Jewish discourses, French history, and theories of Orientalism in order to broaden understandings about Jews of the day.

Author Bio

Julie Kalman is Senior Lecturer in the School of Philosophical, Historical and International Studies at Monash University. She is author of Rethinking Antisemitism in Nineteenth-Century France.


“A well-argued, beautifully written, and intellectually stimulating investigation of representations of Middle Eastern and North African Jews by French Catholic pilgrims, writers, artists, and bureaucrats over the 19th century. Julie Kalman's account blurs the lines between 'here' and 'there' and challenges the binaries that have become wound into the Orientalizing construct.”
 — Maud Mandel, author of Muslims and Jews in France

“Jews of France, nominally full citizens since the French Revolution . . . experienced uncertainty regarding whether their status would be reversed with each change of government. . . . Kalman’s work contributes significantly to an understanding of that insecurity, as she fleshes out the stereotypes that others, officials, artists, authors and intellectuals, projected onto the Jews living among them inside France.”
 — French History

“Kalman’s book represents a valuable contribution to the growing historical scholarship of Jews in the French colonies.  By focusing on aspects of pre-colonial contact between French travelers and the Jews they encountered, her research deepens our understanding of the multiple levels on which Orientalism operated. ”
 — H-France

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Table of Contents

1. Pilgrimage to the Holy Land Within
2. Travel and Intimacy
3. The Kings of Algiers

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