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
Westenley Alcenat, “Searching for Zion: Black Emigration to Haiti and the Elusive Quest for American Citizenship”
Tuesday, November 16th, 4PM
Wednesday, January 26th, 2022, 4PM
Benjamin Ratskoff, “Du Bois Before Warsaw, Fascism Before Racism”
In conversation with Amelia Glasser
Tuesday, March 22nd, 2022, 4PM
Bryan Roby, “Blackness in Motion: The Centrality of Black Thought for Afro-Asian Jewry in Israel”
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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.