Colonialism and the Jews

Colonialism and the Jews

Edited by Ethan B. Katz, Lisa Moses Leff and Maud S. Mandel
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 01/30/2017
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-253-02457-2
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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.

Author Bio

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) andMuslims and Jews in France: History of a Conflict (2014).


“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 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 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 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

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

“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

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Table of Contents

1. Ethan Katz, Lisa Leff, Maud Mandel, "Introduction: Engaging Colonial History and Jewish History"

Part I: Subjects and Agents of Empire

2. Colette Zytnicki, "The ‘Oriental Jews’ of the Maghreb: Re-inventing the North African Jewish Past in the Colonial Era"
3. Susannah Heschel, "The Rise of German Imperialism and the German Jewish Engagement in Islamic Studies"
4. Adam Mendelsohn: "Not the Retiring Kind: Jewish Colonials in England in the mid-19th Century"
5. Frances Malino, "Oriental, Feminist, Orientalist: The New Jewish Woman"
6. Israel Bartal, "Jews in the Crosshairs of Empire: A Franco-Russian Comparison"

Part II: Jews in Colonial Politics

7. Ethan B. Katz: "Crémieux’s Children: Joseph Reinach, Léon Blum, and René Cassin as Jews of French Empire
8. Tara Zahra: "Zionism, Emigration, and East European Colonialism"
9. David Feldman: "Zionism and the British Labor Party"
10. Daniel Schroeter: "Vichy in Morocco: The Residency, Mohammed V and his Indigenous Jewish Subjects"
11. Maud Mandel, "The Politics of Street Riots:Anti-Jewish Violence in Tunisia before Decolonization"

Part III: Zionism and Colonialism

12. Derek J. Penslar, "Is Zionism a Colonial Movement?" from Israel in History: the Jewish State in Comparative Perspective. NY: Routledge, 2006. Reprinted with permission.
13. Joshua Cole, "Derek Penslar’s ‘Algebra of Modernity’: How Should We Understand the Relation between Zionism and Colonialism?"
14. Elizabeth F. Thompson, "Moving Zionism to Asia: Texts and Tactics of Colonial Settlement, 1917-1921"
15. Derek J. Penslar, "What We Talk About When We Talk About Colonialism: A Response to Joshua Cole and Elizabeth Thompson"

List of Contributors

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