Didi Herman: An Unfortunate Coincidence: Jews, Jewishness and English Law
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Didi Herman’s new book is a thought-provoking contribution to a neglected field. In her own words, she examines ‘a wide range of cases in order to begin mapping the terrain of English judicial representations of Jews and Jewishness’ (p. 2)—an area which has received little scholarly attention. This is doubly so: there is a ‘paucity of work on law and racial representation more generally’ (p. 3), as well as a notable absence of a Jewish focus in the crucial ‘critical’ fields of race, diaspora and law and religion studies. The author’s contention is that, although there is considerable scholarship on Jewishness in the field of humanities, the role of ‘the Jew’ ‘remains largely unexcavated when it comes to legal studies and the social sciences’ (p. 8), despite judicial discourse being an important site of the encounter of ‘the Jew’ with ‘the English’.
The book is presented as a case-study on ‘racialisation’ and ‘orientalism’—understood to include ‘particular ways of characterizing people...
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