Pears Institute for the study of Antisemitism : Birkbeck University of London
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International Consortium for Research on Antisemitism and Racism

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.
David Feldman, Director of the Pears Institute, is co-convenor 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.

Aims

The Consortium aims to reshape and revitalise the study if anti-Semitism through rigorous, independent inquiry. Although founded by a group of historians, through its collective endeavours, the Consortium will reach out across disciplinary boundaries 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.

The Consortium promotes a contextualised and comparative understanding of anti-Semitism, which seeks to uncover the content, meanings, functions and dynamics of antisemitism - as it occurred in the past and recurs in the present. A comparative approach considers antisemitism over time and place. It also explores the connections between antisemitism and other racisms, both historically and in contemporary society.

Promoting new thinking

The Consortium organises:

Consortium members

Current members

Posted: November 2011
Updated: November 2015