CFP – Jewishness and Postcoloniality in Literature, Culture and Theory

Jewishness and Postcoloniality in Literature, Culture and Theory

CFP – Special Issue of The Journal of Jewish Identities

Guest Edited by Sarah Phillips Casteel, Anna Guttman and Isabelle Hesse

Similarities between Jewish and colonial subjects in terms of exclusion and racism were identified in the immediate postwar years by thinkers such as Hannah Arendt and Aimé Césaire. Until recently, however, there has been little exchange between Jewish and postcolonial studies. On the one hand, this absence of comparative work can be attributed to postcolonial theory’s inability to “perceive Jews as anything other than as part of the majoritarian tradition” (Cheyette 2000: 54) or to “an unthinking association of Jews with a monolithic ‘Europe’” (Boyarin 1994: 425). On the other hand, as Bryan Cheyette argues elsewhere, there is a danger of universalizing and overwriting Jewish history by “construct[ing] Jews as ‘world-historical victims’ or the quintessential insider/outsider” (2013: 30).

Because of their tendency to perceive Jews either as conflated with victimhood or as part of the majoritarian culture, postcolonial theorists have largely overlooked the relationship between literary and theoretical representations of Europe’s internal and external Others. Similarly, Jewish studies’ insularity and the compartmentalization of Jewish and postcolonial studies has meant that postcolonial authors’ persistent engagements with Jewishness have been neglected. Indeed, literary and cultural texts have often crossed over such boundaries in ways that challenge what Bryan Cheyette refers to as “disciplinary thinking” (2013: 6). Taking up Cheyette’s recent call for “analogical thinking” (2013: 39) as well as Michael Rothberg’s influential theorization of “multidirectional memory” (2009), this special issue will explore different avenues for bringing the fields of Jewish and postcolonial studies into a productive dialogue.

We welcome papers that approach the intersection of Jewish and postcolonial studies from a literary, theoretical, or cultural studies perspective and that do one or more of the following:

  • draw attention to “horizontal” relations among minority and subaltern communities, including Jews, rather than focusing exclusively on “vertical” relations between majority and minority cultures
  • make a case for the importance of literary and cultural expressions as aesthetic modes that foreground these horizontal relationships between Jews and other Others
  • challenge disciplinary boundaries, including those between Jewish, ethnic, and postcolonial studies
  • broaden the purview of Jewish literary and cultural studies and expand the analysis of textual constructions of Jewishness
  • foreground representations, theories, and discourses of Jewishness outside of / beyond Europe and the United States

Please submit articles (7,000 – 10,000 words) and a short academic bio (100-200 words) by 1st December 2017 to the special issue editors:

Sarah Phillips Casteel (

Anna Guttman (

Isabelle Hesse (


Submission Policies

Papers should be sent electronically as Word e-mail attachments. Manuscripts should be prepared using the Chicago Manual of Style. Please include an abstract of 150 words (or less) and a biographical note. Submissions must be in the English language and are considered for publication on the understanding that the author(s) offer The Journal of Jewish Identities the exclusive option to publish and that the paper is not currently under consideration for publication elsewhere. It is the responsibility of the author to obtain permission for using any previously published material.
Submission Checklist
1. Article text should be formatted in 12 point Times New Roman, double-spaced, ragged margins (that is, left justification, not full), one-inch margins all around.

2. The article will be copy edited to conform to Chicago Manual of Style guidelines in matters of form and usage, and Merriam and Webster’s Tenth Collegiate Dictionary in matters of spelling.
3. Citations must be in the form of endnotes, formatted in Chicago/Turabian style. In citations, all non-English source titles must be rendered in the original language. That is, Latin-alphabet sources must be in the original French or German, for example, following capitalization rules for that language. Non-Latin-alphabet source titles must be transliterated from the Russian or Hebrew, say, following the Library of Congress system. Translations of such titles into English is unnecessary.


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