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Dr. Catherine Chatterley

 
John Farber Reviews Antisemitism Studies – Journal of the Canadian Institute for the Study of Antisemitism

by John Farber, July 13, 2017

Antisemitism Studies – Journal of the Canadian Institute for the Study of Antisemitism. Dr. Catherine Chatterley, Editor-in-Chief. Published by Indiana University Press,Volume 1, Number 1 Spring 2017. 

 

April saw the publication of the inaugural issue of the twice-yearly journal Antisemitism Studies, a new  journal sponsored by Winnipeg’s own Canadian Institute for the Study of Anti-Semitism.  Created as an academic/scholarly journal, there was reason to be concerned that it may be too “academic” for the casual reader. What a pleasant surprise to find the articles very readable, informative and extremely well annotated/documented.

 

The Editorial Board of the Journal reads like a whose-who of antisemitism/Holocaust studies; Jeffery Herf, Deborah Lipstadt, Dina Porat, Lars Rensmann, Ruth Wisse, and so on. About half the Editorial Board are from North America, with the remaining members from around the world; Israel, England, South Africa, etc.

 

In the short Introduction Chatterley gives an overview of the purpose and goals of this new publications; aiming for high quality scholarly material with a very broad range of topics and contexts to encourage better understanding of antisemitism. As an example, articles in this first issue range from 12th century Europe to the contemporary Arab world. It is also the intent of the Journal to periodically dedicate a full issue to a specific topic, allowing for even more in-depth discussion.  The first dedicated-topic issue is expected in Spring, 2018.

 

In keeping with the goal of quality and scholarly articles, manuscripts are submitted to double-blind peer review process; meaning reviewed twice by reviewers with expertise in the content area and without knowledge of the name of the author(s). This helps ensure high quality and an unbiased selection process.

 

This first issue had 6 articles, the titles of which give a good sense of the breadth of topics:

 

Guilt, Resentment, and Post-Holocaust Democracy by Lars Rensmann from University of Groningen.

Fictional Tales and Their Narrative Transformations by Katherine Aron-Beller from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Anti-Zionism and Antisemitism in the Wake of the Holocaust by Norman J. Goda from University of Florida.

The Longest Hatred (a tribute or Robert Wistrich) by Alvin H. Rosenfeld from Indiana University.

The Anti-Zionist Bridge by Jeffery Herf from University of Maryland.

From the Damascus Blood Libel to the “Arab Spring” by Esther Webman from Tel Aviv University.

 

Each of these articles are extremely well researched, thoughtful, annotated/documented (most with over 100 notations) attesting to the depth of the research. In spite of the academic focus of the Journal, the articles are surprisingly readable even for the non-academic reader. They are also long enough to extensively cover the topic. Many have references largely unknown to the non-academic reader, but effectively and compellingly support the contents of the article and give the reader many further interesting publications to pursue.   

 

A second section of this issue reviews of 5 books published within the past2years; all of which are interesting and promising reads. The books reviewed in this issue are:

 

Anti-Semitism and Its Metaphysical Origins by David Patterson

The European Union, Antisemitism, and the Politics of Denial by R. Amy Elman

A History of Antisemitism in Canada by Franklyn Bialystok

Holocaust: An American Understanding by Deborah E. Lipstadt

Radical French Thought and the Return of the “Jewish Question” by Eric Marty

 

Overall, this looks like a very promising publication for anyone interested in better understanding the development, evolution and persistence of antisemitism. Also, unlike a book, as a periodical its contents are always relatively current.

 

Of course, being a periodical the proof will be if the Editor/Editorial Board can sustain the approach taken in this inaugural issue. If so, then it should have a far wider appeal than just within the academic (read university) community. Hopefully, future issues will see a section for discussion/comment as several of the articles beg some form of interactive comment.

 

A copy of the Journal can be found in the Kaufman-Silverberg Library at the Rady Jewish Community Centre, Winnipeg, but may be available through other institutions as well. As as academic journal, it is not inexpensive, but individual subscriptions, at a reduced price, can be obtained through Jstor (https://purchase.jstor.org/products.php?issn=24741817).

 
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