January 2020

‘Antisemitism’ before ‘Race’?

Words matter. For historians of Jewish-Christian relations in the Western World, the decision to use the terms Antisemitism or Anti-Judaism is often made in the light of differing opinions about the nature of anti-Jewish sentiment in different historical periods. One question, however, has proved to be particularly problematic: is it possible to talk about ‘Antisemitism’ in the Middle Ages, before the appearance of scientific concepts of ‘race’? In October 2012, I was invited to give a research seminar paper on anti-Jewish propaganda produced in the late medieval and early modern Iberian world at an Australian university. The title of the...

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Nicholas Morrow Williams on The Fu Genre of Imperial China

When people hear "Chinese poetry," they often think of a brief, imagistic poem about nature, like Wang Wei's famous "Deer Fence": "In the empty mountains, no one to be seen . . ." And there's no doubt that this type of poetry has been particularly influential and well-received in modern times. When we look further, though, it turns out that Chinese literature in its long history has contained many quite different types of poetry as well, from romantic dramas to philosophical expositions. My edited volume The Fu Genre of Imperial China: Studies in the Rhapsodic Imagination highlights one of the most...

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