SOAS University of London

Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies

An Evening with Gil Anidjar: "Semitic Vicissitudes"

Yellow Icon - Semitic Vissitudes
Dr Gil Anidjar (Columbia University)

Date: 29 October 2013Time: 7:00 PM

Finishes: 29 October 2013Time: 9:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: G50

Type of Event: Talk

"Semitic Vicissitudes"

From philology to politics or from religion to race, from Hegel to Freud by way of Robertson Smith, and all the way to current and ongoing disputes on the true victims of anti-Semitism, it is sometimes difficult to follow the vicissitudes -- the diasporic wanderings -- of a seemingly omnipresent yet oddly invisible term. Is “Semite” an identity? Is it one that is claimed and assumed or attributed and hurled? Are there ancient Semites or are Semites a modern “construction,” an invented people or tradition? Are we free of the racial legacy sedimented in the name? By attending primarily to Freud’s “band of Semites” and their peregrinations this paper will consider some of the civilizational, historical, political, racial and religious baggage that lingers around the term and its alleged bearers.

Gil Anidjar teaches in the Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies and the Department of Religion at Columbia
University. Among his books are The Jew, the Arab: A History of the Enemy (Stanford University Press, 2003) and Blood: A Critique of
Christianity (forthcoming from Columbia University Press).

Chair: Professor Ruth Mas, Visiting Fellow and Associate Member of the CCLPS, SOAS and Professor of Contemporary Islam at the University of Colorado.

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