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Racism and Antisemitism


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 6
  • Convenor: Ben Gidley
  • Assessment: a 3000-word essay

Module description

This module explores the relationship between racism and antisemitism. We begin the course with a problem: if, in the mid-twentieth century, racism and antisemitism could be examined in conjunction without too much difficulty, today they tend to be tackled in isolation, or even opposition to each other. This course invites you to take on the challenge of thinking about racism and antisemitism together.

We will explore a range of theoretical literatures, including Marxism, critical theory, Jewish studies, postcolonial and anti-colonial perspectives and whiteness studies. In doing so, we will also think concretely about how these theoretical perspectives might help or hinder us in making sense of the historical development of racism and antisemitism within particular regions of the world (UK, France, Russia, the United States, Germany, Israel/Palestine and others).

The main aims of the course are to:

  • explore key theories and concepts in the study of racism and antisemitism
  • introduce key approaches taken to the study of racism and antisemitism by a range of adjacent disciplines
  • develop your critical reading abilities and understanding of literatures from different disciplinary perspectives
  • develop your ability to assimilate a wide range of historical and empirical material pertaining to the study of racism and antisemitism from various national case studies around the world
  • develop your ability to write critically about racism and antisemitism evidenced through assessed written work.

Indicative module content

  • Introduction: Why study racism and antisemitism together?
  • Sociologies of racism
  • Defining antisemitism
  • Is there a 'new antisemitism'?
  • Anti-Black and anti-Jewish racisms
  • Postcoloniality and memory
  • Antisemitism and Islamophobia
  • Whiteness and privilege
  • Israel, Palestine, and the limits of studying racism and antisemitism in the twenty-first century

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • demonstrate an understanding of the key literatures relevant to the study of racism and antisemitism
  • use an appropriate vocabulary for the discussion of racism and antisemitism
  • demonstrate a critical awareness of the significance of racism and antisemitism across a range of national contexts
  • relate a broad range of theoretical literatures to the close study of racism and antisemitism within a number of different national contexts
  • discuss and analyse key issues in the study of racism and antisemitism, demonstrating skills learned through attendance and active participation in lectures and seminars.