Call for Papers
Theme: Entangled Others – Other Entanglements
Subtitle: Critical Perspectives on the Relationship of Racism and Antisemitism
Type: International Conference
Institution: Center for Research on Antisemitism, Technische Universität Berlin
International Consortium for Research on Antisemitism and Racism (ICRAR)
Martin Buber Chair for Jewish Thought and Philosophy, Goethe University Frankfurt
Location: Berlin (Germany)
Critical inquiry into the relationship of racism and antisemitism is
more urgent than ever. Due to the global resurgence of authoritarian
movements and governments, the proliferation and acceptance of racist
and anti-Semitic views is dramatically increasing. At the same time,
the missing connection between the struggles against racism and
against antisemitism has been all too often a serious political
handicap. Despite all this, the conceptual and historical
relationship of racism and antisemitism remains both strongly
contested and unclear. Historical research often presupposes a
specific understanding of this relationship but hardly ever inquires
into it or even acknowledges it. For example, although this
relationship is central to the controversy about possible
continuities from (German) colonialism to National Socialism and the
Holocaust, the ways racism and antisemitism actually interrelate in
the context of either Nazism or German colonialism have hardly been
addressed. There is, therefore, a strong need to confront the
relationship of racism and antisemitism on a theoretical, historical
and political level.
Historically, racism and antisemitism often intertwined. The
structure, significance and theoretical status of this relationship,
however, are neither clear nor have they been sufficiently explored.
Many scholars have argued that a central aspect of modern
antisemitism was the adoption of a biological-racist definition of
the “Jew”. Others have maintained that the linking of “culture” and
“religion” with “race” was not an invention of the late nineteenth
century but could be found in the very formation of the concept of
“race” and that therefore racism and antisemitism were even more
fundamentally connected. Additionally, the scaffolding of modern
racism depended upon prior religious persecution and theological
categories. Scholars have pointed out that the forms of racism have
varied according to different targeted groups, historical and social
contexts, and modes of expression. Thus, forms of colonial racism,
anti-Black, anti-Asian or anti-Muslim racism should not be subsumed
under a monolithic concept counterposed to antisemitism. Whether
antisemitism is one particular form of racism remains open to debate.
At the same time, researchers have emphasized a number of differences
between the historical forms of racism on the one hand and of
antisemitism on the other. It has been argued, for instance, that in
racist ideology, the other is not ascribed a destructive, demonic
power comparable to what the antisemites ascribe to the “Jew”, that
only Jews have been simultaneously identified with capitalism and
communism (or modernity as such), and that racism has not developed
an idea of “world conspiracy” that is so central to antisemitism. It
has also been claimed that (colonial) racism has not produced the
organized exterminatory dynamics of the antisemitic “solution to the
Jewish question” as developed during the Holocaust. Hasty equations
of historic forms of racism and antisemitism should therefore be
avoided. Instead of a-historical comparisons or the construction of
abstract causal links, a search for tangible and empirically
verifiable connections and genealogical overlappings is required. In
addition, it seems important to investigate the location,
significance and interaction of racism and antisemitism within an
overarching history of violence in the modern age.
Entangled Others – Other Entanglements invites participants to
discuss the potentials and pitfalls of an analysis of the
relationship between racism and antisemitism. The conference aims to
approach this relationship from a wide range of topical, theoretical,
and methodological perspectives. The main goal is to create a
platform on which an open debate of this relationship is possible,
and to bring together scholars with different or even conflicting
approaches. Contributions to the conference could address, but are
not limited to, the following questions:
- In which ways do conceptual frameworks of the research on racism
and on antisemitism overlap, inspire or contradict each other? What
work do the politics of comparison or relational perspectives entail?
- How do we understand the relationship between racism and
antisemitism in connection with other ideologies/practices of
denigration and exclusion, such as sexism or classism? How do we
understand and address the central categories of these
ideologies/practices, such as race, class, gender, religion, culture,
biology, Volk, or nation?
- What are the potentials and pitfalls of an integration of the
Holocaust into a wider history of violence, especially in regard to
the singularity thesis (i.e. the claim of the uniqueness of the
- How are the debates on the relations between racism and
antisemitism influenced by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?
- How has race been constituted historically and how do different
constructions of “Jews”, “Blacks”, “Asians”, or “Whites” operate? Who
were the protagonists of these constructions?
- What is the role of non-discursive practices and emotions in the
constitution of the Self and the Other, for the homogenization of
groups and for the experience of belonging? And how do racism and
antisemitism shape bodies, their habits and perceptions?
- How do racism and antisemitism relate to the historical development
and to the various historical constellations of capitalism and
- How can the relationship between racism, antisemitism and
colonialism be investigated – in regard to the debate concerning the
(dis-)continuities from colonialism to National Socialism and to the
Holocaust as well as in other contexts?
- What are the differences and commonalities between forms of
remembrance of racist and antisemitic persecution? Is there a
possibility for, and have there been instances of, a linkage between
the respective narratives of the past?
- Is there a connection between the respective strategies of
subaltern self-constitution and self-affirmation of those targeted by
racism and those targeted by antisemitism?
- Which processes, structures or narratives constitute a competition
of victimhood and could they be framed otherwise?
- Which alliances of common action against racism and antisemitism
have existed and what has foreclosed them?
The conference will take place in Berlin, Germany, from June 24 to
June 26, 2019. The conference will be held in English. We intend to
cover the travel expenses for all speakers. Please send a proposal of
no more than one page, along with a brief CV, to the address below.
Anna Danilina, Felix Axster, Stefan Vogt
February 4, 2018.
Sander L. Gilman (Emory University)
Charles W. Mills (City University of New York, t. b. c.)
Ann Laura Stoler (New School for Social Research)
Center for Research on Antisemitism, Technische Universität Berlin,
in cooperation with the International Consortium for Research on
Antisemitism and Racism (ICRAR) and the Martin Buber Chair for Jewish
Thought and Philosophy, Goethe University Frankfurt am Main
Zentrum fuer Antisemitismusforschung
Technische Universität Berlin