Black Matters: Young Ethiopian Jews and Race in Israel

Black Matters: Young Ethiopian Jews and Race in Israel

A lecture by Gabriella Djerrahian (Concordia University, Montreal)

Thursday, October 26, 2017
3:15 PM
Room 1314, UCLA School of Law

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This presentation will shed light on the multiple articulations of race and blackness in Israel amongst two age groups of Ethiopian Jews (teenagers and young adults). Racially speaking, on the one hand this group copes with lingering doubts as to the authenticity and “purity” in regards to their bloodline and genealogy. On the other hand, blackness as a racial stigma is located on the level of the epidermis and is, somatically speaking, skin deep. Both racial logics clash and contradict one another as Ethiopian Jews struggle to find their place in Jewish Israeli society.  Djerrahian argues that their identity as Jews racially speaking is the platform on which Ethiopians’ blackness gains traction. As such, however marginalized, their position as “internal Others” cannot be disassociated from the larger legal and structural implications of their racial inclusion into the body of the Jewish meta-family. Race and ethnic relations amongt Jews are also explored as a way to provide the backdrop against which Ethiopian Jewish blackness and claims of racism emerged.

Cost : Free and open to the public

Sponsor(s): Center for Near Eastern Studies, Critical Race Studies Program (CRS) at UCLA School of Law, The Richard G. Hovannisian Chair in Modern Armenian History