Is Theory Good for the Jews?
Bruno Chaouat is Professor of French at the University of Minnesota
Prologue: A Farewell to Theory
Introduction: Is Theory Good for the Jews?
1 Specters of Heidegger
2 The Moralistic Turn: Radical Social Critique, Literary Terror, and Antisemitism after Toulouse
3 Dangerous Parallels: The Holocaust, the Colonial Turn, and the New Antisemitism
4 Theory’s Operation Shylock
Part I: Antisemitism Denial
Intermezzo: Have French Jews Veered to the Right?
Part II: Jew-Splitting in Judith Butler’s Parting Ways
Postscript: Theorizing Antisemitic Laughter
Envoy: Adieu to France?
Bruno Chaouat’s Is Theory Good for the Jews? is well-written, well-researched, and deeply felt. Chaouat is an established scholar and Professor at the University of Minnesota whose work is at the intersection of French literature and thought and Holocaust and Jewish Studies.
Brett Ashley Kaplan, University of Illinois, H-France Review
It is a final, telling indictment of Theory that Chaouat’s critique of it derives more political and moral insight from his detours into novels by Philip Roth, Boualem Sansal, and Michel Houellebecq than from any theoretical text he cites. One might have wished that Theory were today solely a matter of 1980s trivia, at most an exercise in period nostalgia like the television show Stranger Things, albeit scarier and less entertaining. Alas, as Chaouat’s book shows, it is still very much with us.
Michael Weingrad, Jewish Review of Books
"In this startlingly lucid book, Bruno Chaouat asks why so many of the important theorists of our time, from Alain Badiou to Judith Butler, have failed to confront the problem of the 'new antisemitism.' A must-read for anyone interested in the intersection of contemporary politics and critical theory."
Betty Jane Anlyan Professor of French and Director, Yale Program for the Study of Antisemitism, Yale University
Professor Maurice Samuels, Director, Yale Program for the Study of Antisemitism, Yale University
'The reader will be fascinated by the deftness with which Chaouat
triangulates such opppositions as Sephardic/Ashkenazi, Israélite/Juif, Jew of
the flesh/Jew of the spirit, infinitely expanding Europe/infinitely expanding
Jihad. This is a remarkable book. ' Professor Jeffrey Mehlman, Boston University
Size: 234 × 156 mm
Publication: December 16, 2016
Series: Contemporary French and Francophone Cultures 43