Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Randolph hosts French professor for discussion of antisemitism in France

A lecture today at Randolph will shed light on the problem of persistent antisemitism in France.

Gayle Zachmann, a professor from the University of Florida, will present “The Silent Enemy of the Republic: Jews…or Antisemitism? Reflections of Jews, Jewishness, and Antisemitism in France (1789-2013)” at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, October 23, in Nichols Theatre in the Randolph College Student Center.

France has a complicated history with antisemitism. In 1791, France became the first European country to offer expanded rights and protections to Jews through emancipation. But in the centuries since then, “the Jewish question” reemerged and challenged the French republic and its institutions. Zachmann will draw upon her personal experiences for the presentation, having seen growing antisemitism  while living in France from 2003-2012.

Randolph professors are looking forward to giving their students an opportunity to learn how antisemitism has affected people throughout history. History professor Gerry Sherayko, who is teaching a seminar on the Holocaust for first-year students, said this will show students how countries other than Germany handled issues that eventually led to the Holocaust.

Jamie Rohrer, a professor of French at Randolph, said Zachmann’s lectures are interesting and informative. “She is a riveting speaker, who is clearly fascinated by French cultural production and its complexities,” she said. “Randolph students will enjoy how she integrates different kinds of cultural production, including cinema, painting, caricature, literature, and the media, to explore French culture.

“Focusing on republican values, and addressing both past and contemporary debates, her talk will provide a historical sweep of the Jewish question in post-revolutionary France,” Rohrer said.