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Demonizing the Other: Antisemitism, Racism and Xenophobia [Paperback]

Robert S. Wistrich

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Book Description

Jan. 6 2012
At the close of the twentieth century the stereotyping and demonization of 'others', whether on religious, nationalist, racist, or political grounds, has become a burning issue. Yet comparatively little attention has been paid to how and why we fabricate images of the 'other' as an enemy or 'demon' to be destroyed. This innovative book fills that gap through an interdisciplinary, cross-cultural approach that brings together a distinguished array of historians, anthropologists, psychologists, literary critics, and feminists.
The historical sweep covers Greco-Roman Antiquity, the MIddle Ages, and the MOdern Era. Antisemitism receives special attention because of its longevity and centrality to the Holocaust, but it is analyzed here within the much broader framework of racism and xenophobia. The plurality of viewpoints expressed in this volume provide fascinating insights into what is common and what is unique to the many varieties of prejudice, stereotyping, demonization, and hatred.

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About the Author

Robert S Wistrich is Neuberger Professor of Modern European History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel, and scholar-in-residence at the Center for Jewish Studies, Harvard University. Among his many books is the award-winning Antisemitism: The Longest Hatred

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5.0 out of 5 stars High-class paper collection Jan. 30 2007
By Andreas Umland - Published on
This collection of papers presented at a conference on comparative dimensions of antisemitism at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in June 1995 will be welcomed by scholars from a number of disciplines and substantive foci. It assembles a wide array of contributions in the fields of cultural, literary, gender and religious studies, ancient, modern and contemporary history, psychology, sociology, philosophy, as well as political science from twenty-three scholars.

The papers deal with as different subject matters as demonization of the "other" in visual arts (Ziva Amisha-Maisels), antisemitism and other -isms in the Graeco-Roman world (Daniel R. Schwartz), Jews and Christians in the Middle Ages (Israel J. Yuval) and Medieval Muslim Thought (Hava Lazarus-Yafeh), or images in the antisemitisms of the Third Republic (Richard I. Cohen), Nazi Germany (Philippe Burrin), Poland (Yisrael Gutman), Arab-Muslim world (Rivka Yadlin) and contemporary Germany (Robert S. Wistrich). The collection also addresses directly at least two important public and academic debates: the controversy around Daniel J. Goldhagen's Hitler's Willing Executioners, and the discussion about Stephane Courtois' Black Book of Communism.

The largely excellent contributions to this book are far too varied and sophisticated to do justice to them in a short review. It should be pointed out once more that this volume constitutes a useful collection of divergent observations and theories on the issue of xenophobia throughout human history. It should find a warm welcome among scholars from many different disciplines, and will influence future debates on the roots and nature of exclusionism and genocide.

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