“In Conversation” Series 2021-2022

The 2021-2022 Series: “Black Studies and Jewish Studies in Conversation”

The year-long series “Black Studies and Jewish Studies in Conversation” was conceived to complement an interdisciplinary core seminar at Fordham University co-taught by Professors Westenley Alcenat and Magda Teter. Although the seminar is on antisemitism and racism we wanted to introduce students and the public to the two fields-Jewish Studies and Black Studies-as representing more than discussions about antisemitism and racism. Both Jewish Studies and Black Studies have been shaped by the awareness of a diasporic living experience as well as persecution that both Jews and Black people experienced in different ways in their histories. Yet, conversations between Black Studies and Jewish Studies have been lacking, limited largely to questions of antisemitism and racism or Black-Jewish relations in the United States. This lecture series “Black Studies and Jewish Studies in Conversation” seeks to flesh out more meaningful connections between the two fields. It will seek to uncover conceptual connections and contrasts between the experiences of Jews and Black people, the interrelated histories, narratives, politics, and cultures. Although recent events have brought back the awareness on the connections between antisemitism and racism, a point raised by W.E.B. Du Bois decades ago, as core characteristics of white supremacy, our lecture series tries to direct the lens on the intersections of Jewish and Black experiences, not just anti-Black racist and antisemitic ideologies. We will explore how these forces shaped the political, social, and cultural meanings of Black and Jewish identities over time and how they were shaped by their respective disciplines.

Tuesday, October 5th, 4PM 

Laura Leibman, “Black and Jewish in Early America” 
In conversation with Westenley Alcenat


Tuesday, October 12th, 4PM

Judith Weisenfeld, “Race, Religion, and Black Jewish Identity in the Early Twentieth-Century U.S.”

In conversation with Jenna Weissman Joselit


Wednesday, October 27, 4PM 
Black Studies and Jewish Studies in Conversation

Westenley Alcenat, “Searching for Zion: Black Emigration to Haiti and the Elusive Quest for American Citizenship”

In conversation with Derek Penslar


Tuesday, November 16th, 4PM

Eli Rosenblatt, “Creole Ambivalence: The Politics of Jewishness in Caribbean Suriname, 1890-1959”
In conversation with Belinda Edmondson


Wednesday, January 26th, 2022, 4PM

Benjamin Ratskoff, “Du Bois Before Warsaw, Fascism Before Racism”

In conversation with Amelia Glasser

This event is co-presented with the Leo Baeck Institute


Tuesday, March 22nd, 2022, 4PM 

Bryan Roby, “Blackness in Motion: The Centrality of Black Thought for Afro-Asian Jewry in Israel”

In conversation with Aomar Boum and Ahmad Greene-Hayes


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All events are possible through the generosity of The Joseph Alexander Foundation, The Knapp Family Foundation, The Picket Family Foundation, the Shvidler Gift Fund to Fordham University, and individual donations from friends of the Center for Jewish Studies at Fordham.

Public Events in Fall 2021

Past Events of 2020-2021