Jay Geller, Divinity, Vanderbilt University
in collaboration with the Jewish Studies workshop and the Chicago Center for Jewish Studies

Request a copy of the paper by emailing kpflaum@uchicago.edu.

An excerpt from Professor Geller’s paper:

The animalization of “the Jew” did not begin with the biologization of “Jew hatred” by racial antisemitism. Rather over the past two millennia a vast menagerie of verbal and visual images of nonhuman animals (pigs, dogs, vermin, rodents, apes, etc.) have been disseminated to debase and bestialize Jews. Analogies and/or identifications of Jews with either particular animals or animality in general, almost always derogatorily, had long accompanied discourse about and iconography of “the Jew.” These forays into the wild often appropriated their figuration from scriptural sources or subsequent Christian midrash (legend), although everyday practice was no less a source (e.g., Jewish dietary prohibitions, the routine castration of pigs, distinctions between mongrels and the aristocratic breeding of dogs). While the history of that unnatural Jewish bestiary will be sketched in the next chapter, it is not, however, the primary object of Bestiarium Judaicum. Instead this study focuses upon the deployment of such animal figures by Jewish-identified, pre-eminently Germanophone, writers during the Era of the Jewish Question in order to inquire, given this history, about what may be going on when they are telling animal tales and composing animal poems.

Light refreshments will be served.

This event is free and open to the public. Persons with disabilities who may need assistance to attend should contact Katharine Mershon (kpflaum@uchicago.edu).

Find our full workshop schedule here.