Feminist Legal Studies

, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 293–296 | Cite as

Didi Herman: An Unfortunate Coincidence: Jews, Jewishness and English Law

Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2011, xiv+193 pp, £34.95, ISBN: 978-0-19-922976-5 (Hb)
  • Anastasia Vakulenko
Book Review

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...


  1. Becker, Adam H., and Annette Yoshiko Reed (eds.). 2007. The ways that never parted: Jews and Christians in late antiquity and the early middle ages. Minneappolis: Fortress Press.Google Scholar
  2. Boyarin, Daniel. 2007. Border lines: The partition of Judaeo-Christianity. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.Google Scholar

Cases Cited

  1. Mandla v Dowell Lee [1983] 2 AC 548Google Scholar
  2. R(E) v Governing Body of JFS [2010] IRLR 136Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Birmingham Law SchoolUniversity of BirminghamEdgbaston, BirminghamUK

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