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International Consortium for Research on Antisemitism and Racism (ICRAR)

Revitalising the study of antisemitism

The International Consortium for Research on Antisemitism and Racism (ICRAR) involves leading scholars from universities and institutes across Europe, Israel and the US who share the common goal of revitalising and reshaping the study of antisemitism. It was launched in November 2011.

Center for Research on Antisemitism is a founding member of the Consortium.

The challenge
Antisemitism is an important and a contentious problem. Yet our understanding of it remains under-developed. There are two reasons for this.
First, the study of antisemitism stands in isolation – set apart from contemporary, intellectual currents that encourage new thinking and approaches. It has become divorced from related fields of scholarly inquiry such as Jewish studies and race studies. Similarly, a growing body of work on hostility to Jews by scholars who approach the subject from a broader set of concerns, gender studies or the history of Christianity for example, has made little impression on scholars who specialise in antisemitism. As a result, theoretical and methodological approaches which have invigorated other fields in recent decades have made little impact on the study of antisemitism.
The second reason relates to the politicisation of antisemitism. Too often its study has been shaped and corralled by immediate political concerns. This has not only foreshortened our understanding of antisemitism in the past and present but it has also undermined the specific contribution academics can make to overcome it.

The goal of the Consortium is to reshape and revitalise the study of antisemitism through rigorous, independent inquiry. We are predominantly a group of historians, but in our collective endeavour we will reach out across disciplinary boundaries. In so doing, we aim to encourage scholars to re-evaluate the tools they bring to the study of antisemitism, to question the predominant theoretical and methodological approaches they use, to innovate, and to extend the topics considered a part of the field.
In realising this goal we will promote a contextualised and comparative understanding of antisemitism. A contextualised understanding will seek to uncover the content, meanings, functions and dynamics of antisemitism - as it occurred in the past and recurs in the present. A comparative approach will consider antisemitism over time and place. Importantly, it will also explore the connections between antisemitism and other racisms. Indeed, the relationship of antisemitism to racism both historically and today will be a particular concern for us.

Promoting new thinking
The Consortium will organise:
•    Annual Workshops
•    Summer schools
•    Publications

These will be interdisciplinary in scope, explore the cross-currents of time and place and address topical and theoretical questions and issues. Taking examples from the past to the present day, historical and multidisciplinary perspectives will aid our understanding of contemporary concerns and phenomena.

The Consortium’s first workshop, Boycotts: Past and Present will be held in London in 2012/13, hosted by the Pears Institute for the study of Antisemitism.

Founding members
David Feldman, Director, Pears Institute for the study of Antisemitism, Birkbeck, University of London

Scott Ury, Head, Stephen Roth Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism and Racism, Tel Aviv University

François Guesnet, Sidney and Elizabeth Corob Reader in Modern Jewish History, University College London

Jonathan Judaken, Spence L. Wilson Chair in Humanities, Rhodes College, Memphis, Tennessee

Veronika Lipphardt, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science; Friedrich Meinecke Institute, Free University, Berlin.

Michael Miller, Central European University, Budapest

Amos Morris-Reich, University of Haifa; Director, Bucerius Institute for Research of Contemporary German History and Society, Haifa

Maurice Samuels, Director, Yale Program for the Study of Antisemitism, New Haven, Connecticut

Stefanie Schüler-Springorum, Director, Center for Research on Antisemitism, Technical University, Berlin

The co-convenors of the Consortium are David Feldman and Scott Ury

CfP: The Classification of Humanity: Defining and Dividing Societies in the Modern Era Fourth Annual Conference of the International Consortium for Research on Anti-Semitism and Racism (ICRAR), November 27-28, 2016

Montag, 14. März 2016

We are planning a major international conference focusing on the classification and categorization of human groups and individuals. Hosted by the University of Haifa’s Bucerius Institute for the Study of Contemporary German History and Society and School of History, this will be the fourth annual conference of the International Consortium for Research on Anti-Semitism and Racism (ICRAR). Like previous ICRAR conferences, the goal of this meeting is to address questions that are central to the study of anti-Semitism by way of comparison with other forms of racism. Selected papers will be published in a peer-reviewed volume that will appear as part of the new ICRAR book series with Palgrave, Rethinking Antisemitism

In “The Classification of Humanity” we have in mind two separate but interrelated levels of classification. The first level concerns classifications found in various historical objects or moments that are critical for the historical understanding of anti-Semitism and racism. The second level concerns classifications employed by contemporary scholars in their analyses of topics related to anti-Semitic and racist phenomena.

For example, we are interested in various bureaucratic attempts to establish ostensibly objective definitions of subjective categories such as race, ethnicity, and nationality.  How have such definitions been devised, applied, internalized and instrumentalized?  How have censuses and other statistical surveys been designed, wittingly and unwittingly, to create, challenge or perpetuate specific categories?  We are also interested in visual markers that have been used to represent different populations.  How have these markers been coded? How have they changed over time? What categories of analysis and forms of classification are used by contemporary scholars of historical sources and material culture? What roles have folklorists, musicologists, anthropologists, sociologists and art historians played in characterizing and defining other cultures? What role have such definitions played in legal debates, especially with regard to affirmative action and other attempts to redress historical wrongs?  How have broader, binary conceptions of gender shaped the categorization of humanity? And, implicit in all of these questions, how have individuals attempted to ‘pass’ between different racial, national, ethnic and gender categories?

In addition to cases that examine the relationship between classifications imposed from without and self-imposed classifications, we are also interested in tracing the creation,  implementation and internalization of new categories, as well as the erosion, contraction or elimination of other, time-worn categories. Lastly, we are particularly interested in reflecting on the question of the persistence of particular categories (or their underlying definitions) long after their ostensible erosion or disappearance.

Scholars and students interested in taking part in this international conference should send proposals of one-page to by March 31, 2016.  We hope to be able to supply financial support for those attending from abroad, in particular for advanced graduate students and early career scholars.

Conference Conveners:

Amos Morris-Reich, Bucerius Institute for the Study of Contemporary German History and Society and Department of Jewish History, Haifa University

Michael L. Miller, Nationalism Studies Program and Jewish Studies Program, Central European University, Budapest

Scott Ury, Roth Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism and Racism and Department of Jewish History, Tel Aviv University


Narratives of Violence

A major international conference on Narratives of Violence, conceived by the International Consortium for Research on Antisemitism and Racism (ICRAR), and hosted by the Jewish Studies Program at Central European University, will be held in Budapest, Hungary, on June 16-18, 2014.

Anti-Jewish violence has been central to the narration and construction of a distinctly Jewish past, present and future.  The destruction of the Temple in ancient times, the Crusades and blood libels of the middle ages, the pogroms of turn of the century Poland and Russia and the near destruction of European Jewry in the middle of the twentieth century all continue to reverberate in contemporary Jewish culture.  Indeed, perceptions and interpretations of anti-Jewish violence play a crucial role in shaping the ways many Jews see themselves and their place in the world.

Jews are not the only ethnic or religious community whose sense of past and present is deeply influenced by the memory of violence and martyrdom.  The Armenian and Roma genocides remain central to the histories and historical memories of their respective communities, and slavery and anti-black violence are central to contemporary African-American concepts of community and history. Increasingly, sexual violence is woven into feminist history and the historical narrative of  LGBT communities.

Though Narratives of Violence will attempt to examine this phenomenon through an emphasis on the Jewish experience, the comparative angle will be of great importance in both the conference and the edited volume that will follow. Specifically, we are interested in exploring the ways in which violence against religious groups, ethnic groups and visible minorities, as well as against women and sexual minorities, has been incorporated into larger political projects and into the subsequent construction of real or imagined communities.

Among the questions we will ask: How have different narratives of anti-Jewish violence been imagined, constructed, and memorialized in various places and times?  How have authors, artists and other agents of Jewish collectivity and memory instrumentalized these narratives towards a variety of social, political and religious goals?  Looking more broadly, we hope to understand what the analysis and deconstruction of these narratives of anti-Jewish violence can tell us about the nature of ethnic, religious and national communities since the Middle Ages.  More specifically, we will ask what the comparison of these narratives with those of other communities can tell us about the deeper connections between narratives of violence and the construction of communities, as well as the integration of the memory of violence into regnant conceptions of society, self and other.

Our approach is interdisciplinary, and we welcome proposals for papers from scholars of all fields, including history, literature, cultural studies, and the social sciences.  We envisage panels on some of the following (intertwined) themes:  

Representations of violence in elite and popular culture (film, television, folklore, music, literature, visual arts, internet)

Historiographical trends (use of oral history, documentation, historical commissions, genocide studies, and gender studies)

Religious portrayals and memorialization (matyrologies, liturgy, religious ritual/ceremony)

Ideological trends (violence in national narratives, political narratives, museums, monuments, lieux de mémoire)


Speakers will be provided with accommodation and meals in Budapest as well as support toward their travel costs.


Paper proposals of 200-300 words, together with a brief CV, should be sent to by November 1, 2013. 


All proposals will be peer reviewed by a select committee of ICRAR members.

For more information on ICRAR, see:  http://www.pearsinstitute.bbk.ac.uk/research/research-partnerships/international-consortium-for-research-on-antisemitism-and-racism/


François Guesnet, Sidney and Elizabeth Corob Reader in Modern Jewish History, University College London, Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies

Michael L. Miller, Associate Professor, Central European University, Nationalism Studies Program and Jewish Studies Program

Conference Report: "Antisemitism: A Useful Category of Analysis?" (Jerusalem, July 29, 2013)

conference report by Michael L. Miller (Central European University, Budapest) 


ICRAR article in "The Huffington Post"


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