The Pears Institute for the study of Antisemitism is based at Birkbeck, University of London. We were established by the Pears Foundation and are located in the School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy.
Despite the historical and contemporary significance of antisemitism, we are the only centre in the UK, and one of just two in Europe, whose mission it is to promote understanding of antisemitism.
Our founding principle is that the study of antisemitism is vital to understanding other forms of racialization, racism, religious intolerance and xenophobia.
Our approach is to engage in issues in a way that is academically rigorous and intellectually inclusive. There are three areas in which we seek to make a significant contribution:
We are committed to the interdisciplinary study of antisemitism. Being part of Birkbeck enables us to draw on an unparalleled combination of expertise in the study of multiculturalism, ethnicity, antisemitism and racial and religious intolerance, across the widest range of disciplines: politics, psychosocial studies, history, literary studies and law. It is this breadth of understanding that provides the foundation for our research and teaching and enables us to contribute to public policy and debate.
Fifty years ago scholars with interests in studying and combating racism and antisemitism were closely aligned, intellectually and politically. Today these connections are less evident. The effect has been to impoverish our understanding of both phenomena. Our task is to help re-establish these connections and encourage intellectual dialogue between scholars interested in antisemitism and other forms of intolerance. It is our aim to examine antisemitism in the context of other forms of racialization and exclusion.
‘The new antisemitism’ is a term used by some to refer to criticism of Israel and/or criticism of the policies of its government. This is an important area of public and scholarly debate in which there is no consensus. There is a pressing need to engage with these issues in ways that are intellectually and politically inclusive.
We are an internationally recognised centre for research. We set antisemitism within a wider context of Jewish-non-Jewish relations and as part of the broader phenomenon of religious and racial intolerance.See our research »
We provide teaching on antisemitism, racialization and all aspects of racism and religious intolerance, from Certificate of Higher Education courses, to BA, MA and research degrees. Students select modules to suit their interests.Study with us »
We are a respected source of independent advice and dialogue for organisations and individuals forming and reflecting on public policy.
We hold seminars to promote the exchange of ideas between scholars; and we host open, public lectures though the year.