Colonialism, Orientalism and the Jews: The Role of Gender and Postcolonial Studies Approaches

International workshop IV of the ReNGOO Research Network Gender in Antisemitism, Orientalism and Occidentalism
June 24th-26th 2015
University of Antwerp, Hof van Liere
Prinsstraat 13b, 2000 Antwerpen


  • Christine Achinger (University of Warwick)
  • Ulrike Brunotte (Maastricht University)
  • Vivian Liska (University of Antwerp, Institute of Jewish Studies)
  • Christina Späti (Université de Fribourg)
  • Axel Stähler (University of Kent)

The workshop will explore the possibility of applying perspectives developed in the context of Gender and Postcolonial Studies to Jewish Cultural Studies and Studies in Antisemitism with a special emphasis on the orientalization of Jews and Jewish self-orientalization.

In this workshop we wish to offer the framework for a discussion of ways in which recently developed theoretical and methodological approaches, primarily in Postcolonial Studies and in its historically entangled relation to the Study of Antisemitism, may be made productive for an investigation of “Colonialism, Orientalism and the Jews.” Special attention will be given to the ways in which Jewish self-orientalization challenges suggestions by Edward Said and others that orientalism is nothing more than a patronizing attitude and a “strange, secret sharer” of Western Antisemitism.

This workshop was made possible thanks to financial contributions of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research, Maastricht University, the University of Antwerp (Institute of Jewish Studies), the University of Kent, the University of Fribourg, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, and the Philipps-University Marburg / Research Network Re-Configurations. History, Remembrance, and Transformation Processes in the Middle East and North Africa.


Wednesday June 24th 2015

  • 17h15 Welcome & introduction by Ulrike Brunotte (Maastricht University) and Axel Stähler (University of Kent)
  • Panel 1 Colonialism, Orientalism and the Jews
    Chair: Christine Achinger (University of Warwick)
    17h30 Ulrike Brunotte (Maastricht University)
    ‘The Jewes did Indianize; or the Indians doe Judaize’: Philo-Semitism and anti-Judaism as Media of Colonial Transfer in Seventeenth-Century New England
    18h00 Dekel Peretz (Universität Potsdam)
    Franz Oppenheimer’s Concept of Hybridity in the Process of Civilization
  • 20h00 Welcome words by Vivian Liska (Institute of Jewish Studies, University of Antwerp)
    Keynote lecture: Steven Aschheim (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
    The Modern Jewish Experience and the Entangled Web of Orientalism
    Chair: Vivian Liska
  • 21h00 Q&A
  • 21h30 Reception

Thursday June 25th 2015

  • Panel 2 Jewish Orientalization and Self-Orientalization
    Chair: Barbara Breysach (Europa-Universität Viadrina, Frankfurt (Oder))
    9h30 Hildegard Frübis (Institut für Kunst- und Bildgeschichte, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)
    Orientalization, Self-Orientalization and the Image of the ‘Beautiful Jewess’
    10h00 Mirjam Rajner (Bar-Ilan University)
    Turbaned German of Mosaic Faith: Moritz Daniel Oppenheim's Visual Self-Orientalization
    10h30 Sylke Kirschnick (Zentrum Jüdische Studien Berlin-Brandenburg)
    Self-Orientalization as Masquerade: Else Lasker-Schüler
    11h00 Anke Gilleir and Lene Rock (KU Leuven)
    Chinese and Jews – Chinese as Jews? Aspects of Exoticism in the Work of Alfred Döblin
  • 11h30 Coffee Break
  • Panel 3 The Jew in Literature: Antisemitism, the Colonial Paradigm and the Orient
    Chair: Geert Lernout (University of Antwerp)
    12h00 Cecilie Speggers Schrøder Simonsen (Roskilde Universitet)
    Can Aus dem Ghetto be Read as Self-Colonizing Literature?
    12h30 Christine Achinger (University of Warwick)
    Barren Land and Beautiful ailleurs – Gustav Freytag’s Images of the East
    13h00 Axel Stähler (University of Kent)
    The Jews and the Destruction of Jerusalem in German Art and Oratorios of the Nineteenth Century
  • 13h30 Lunch Break (speakers only)
  • Panel 4 Jewish Masculinity, Gender and Orientalism
    Chair: David Dessin (Institute of Jewish Studies, University of Antwerp)
    15h00 Gabriele Dietze (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)
    Affective Masculinity – Queering Jewish Orientalism in German/Austrian Modernism
    15h30 Karin Stoegner (Universität Wien)
    Antisemitism, Sexism and the Legitimation of the Nation State
    16h00 Ofer Nordheimer Nur (Tel Aviv University)
    Hashomer Hatzair as Underground Judaism in the 1920s: A Männerbund in Palestine
  • Panel 5 Enlightenment, Colonialism and the Holocaust
    Chair: David Dessin (Institute of Jewish Studies, University of Antwerp)
    16h30 Nikita Dhawan (Universität Innsbruck)
    Entangled Legacies: Enlightenment, Colonialism and the Holocaust
  • 17h00 Coffee Break
  • 17h30 Keynote lecture: Ivan D. Kalmar (University of Toronto)
    Cousins of Arabs: Orientalism, Racialized Religion and Jewish Self-Orientalization in the Long Nineteenth Century
    Chair: Vivian Liska (Institute of Jewish Studies, University of Antwerp)
  • Evening Dinner (speakers only)

Friday June 26th 2015

  • Panel 6 Jewish Masculinities and Homosexuality
    Chair: Dennis Baert (Institute of Jewish Studies, University of Antwerp)
    9h00 Ofri Ilany (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)
    Homo-Semitism: Jewish Men, Greek Love and the Rise of Homosexual Identity
  • Panel 7 Jews as Orientals and De-Orientalization
    Chair: Dennis Baert (Institute of Jewish Studies, University of Antwerp)
    9h30 Christina Späti (Université de Fribourg)
    Orientalism and Antisemitism in Switzerland
    10h00 Johannes Becke (Center for Jewish Studies Heidelberg)
    Dismantling the Villa in the Jungle: Occidentalism and Self-Occidentalization in Israel’s Anti-Zionist Left
    10h30 Jihan Jasmin S. Dean (TU Berlin; Frankfurt Research Center for Postcolonial Studies)
    De-Orientalization of Jews after 1989 – The Relationship between Discourse and Subjects
  • 11h00 Coffee Break
  • 11h30 Keynote lecture: Derek Penslar (University of Oxford)
    Jewish Creoles? Zionism, Colonialism, and the Construction of Israeli Identity
    Chair: Vivian Liska (Institute of Jewish Studies, University of Antwerp)
  • 12h30 Lunch (speakers only) and End of Workshop


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