Palestinian Studies

Lecture | Elad Lapidot | Jews Out of the Question: How Critical Theory Fights Anti-Semitism by Denying Judaism

Elad Lapidot Lecture on Jews out of the Question: How Critical Theory Fights Anti-Semitism by Denying Judaism on April 12 at 12pm ET

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

12:00 - 1:20 p.m.

Joukowsky Forum, Watson Institute, 111 Thayer

About the Event
The talk will reflect on the role that opposition to anti-Semitism has played in shaping critical theory after the Holocaust, in authors such as Adorno, Horkheimer, Jean-Paul Sartre and Hannah Arendt, Alain Badiou, and, most recently, Jean-Luc Nancy. Lapidot's basic argument is that post-Holocaust critical theory diagnosed the fundamental evil of anti-Semitic thought not as thinking against Jews, but as thinking of Jews. In other words, what anti-anti-Semitic thought has been denounced as anti-Semitic is the figure of “the Jew” in thought. The talk will suggest that, paradoxically, the opposition to anti-Semitism generates in post-Holocaust philosophy a rejection of Jewish thought, which in some respects is more radical than previous historical forms of anti-Judaism. At work in this rejection, so will be the claim, is a problematic understanding of the relations between politics and thought—a troubling contemporary political epistemology.

About the Speaker
Elad Lapidot is Professor and Chair for Jewish Studies at the University of Lille, France. Holding a Ph.D. in philosophy from the Paris Sorbonne university, he has taught philosophy, Jewish thought and Talmud at the University of Bern, Switzerland, as well as the Humboldt Universität and Freie Univeristät in Berlin. His work reflects on the relation between knowledge and politics, especially in modern and contemporary cultures. Among his publications: "Jews Out of the Question. A Critique of Anti-Anti-Semitism" (Albany: SUNY Press, 2020), Hebrew translation with introduction and commentary (with R. Bar) of Hegel’s Phänomenologie des Geistes, Vol. 1 (Tel Aviv: Resling Publishing, 2020); "Heidegger and Jewish Thought. Difficult Others, edited with M. Brumlik" (London/New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 2018); and "Etre sans mot dire: La logiqe de ‘Sein und Zeit’" (Bucarest: Zeta Books, 2010).