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    Vassar College
  Dec 10, 2017
Catalogue 2017-2018
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INTL 270 - Diasporas

1 unit(s)
(Same as JWST 270  and POLI 270 ) Topic for 2016/17b: Borderline Jews. Latin American postcolonial theorist Walter Mignolo tells of delivering a lecture in Tunis on colonialism, only to encounter a fundamental misunderstanding. He thought he was talking about the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries in the Americas, but when his Tunisian colleagues heard the word “colonial,” they thought instead of nineteenth- and twentieth-century impositions and resistances in North Africa. Mignolo’s remarks both did and didn’t fit. But the step from misrecognition to lively discussion is the work of hermeneutics, which is the basis of this course, too. We take our point of departure from Mignolo’s conception of “border gnosis” or “border thinking,” but we overhear his word “border” with a Jewish difference. Jews have sometimes created geo-political borders in Mignolo’s sense, but more often have found themselves on both sides of any border (e.g., Europe and its boundaries) as internal Others within larger host communities, and also along fractures within Jewish communities themselves. This study in political theory proceeds toward an understanding of what we will call “borderline Jews” by attending carefully to stories told from, in relation to, and across those many and varied borders. Texts (all either written in English or in English translation) include theoretical and autobiographical writings, poetry, traditional tales and modern fiction. Andrew Bush and Andrew Davison.

Not offered in 2017/18.

Two 75-minute periods.

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