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MUSLIM SPACES, JEWISH PASTS: Genealogies of the Split Arab / Jew Figure

March 26, 2020, 2:30 pm
Location Schmitt Hall - 104
Posted InCollege of Humanities and Social Sciences
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MSU Presents: Decolonizing the Global Imaginary Talk Series
MUSLIM SPACES, JEWISH PASTS: Genealogies of the Split Arab / Jew Figure

Thursday, March 26th (2:30 pm) – Schmitt 104
Speaker: Ella Shohat, (Professor of Cultural Studies, Depts of Art and Public Policy and Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at NYU)
On Orientalist Genealogies: The Split Arab/Jew Figure Revisited

In this essay, Ella Shohat argues that the question of the Arab-Jew must be posed in such a way as to address the complex imaginaries of both “the Arab” and “the Jew,” which, in contrast to present-day ethno-nationalist common sense, must be rearticulated as mutually constitutive categories. Elaborating on her earlier dialogue with Edward Said’s account of the bifurcated Semitic myth-- one rendered as the Orientalist (the Jew) and the other as the Oriental (the Arab), Shohat offers a genealogical reading of this gradual splitting, locating it prior to the partition of Palestine and even to the emergence of Zionism--with the dissemination of colonizing Enlightenment discourse. But more crucially, Shohat asks where the indigenous Jew of “the Orient,” and more specifically the Arab-Jew, might fit conceptually within this split? Her talk features analysis of French orientalist paintings, specifically “L’execution de la Juive” by Dehodenque, foregrounding the uses of gendered representations.