Call for Proposals: “When Feminism and Antisemitism Collide,” a Special Issue of Feminist German Studies
Antisemitism and misogyny often go hand in hand. Many Jewish women and feminist leaders in German-speaking lands have sought to combat both, sometimes encountering opposition from right-wing groups or from other German feminists who harbored a more covert form of antisemitism. As Bertha Pappenheim, founder of the Jüdischer Frauenbund, noted in 1934: “It is exceedingly demanding to be a German, a woman, and a Jew today. However, because these three duties are also three sources of spiritual strength, they do not cancel each other out. On the contrary, they strengthen and enrich one another.” Although Pappenheim wrote these words at a particularly fraught moment for considering the interplay of feminism and antisemitism—indeed, at a time when hybrid German-Jewish-female identity was under direct attack—she was not alone in considering such concerns.
This special issue of Feminist German Studies will investigate past and present-day tensions between feminist objectives and antisemitic sentiments. Our point of inquiry encompasses theoretical approaches to forms of antisemitism that specifically target women; historical and cultural responses to antisemitism; and issues related to the state of the field today. The broader impact of antisemitic characterizations on women’s lives and cultural production is also of interest, as with women/non-binary writers who have responded to anti-Jewish discrimination (for example: Rahel Varnhagen, Fanny Lewald, Else Lasker-Schüler, Gertrud Kolmar, Anna Seghers, Hannah Arendt, Barbara Honigmann, Katja Petrowskaja, Sasha Marianna Salzmann).
We invite proposals for individual or co-authored papers that explore relationships and tensions between feminism, antisemitism, and related constructions of gender and Jewishness. Topics may include (but are certainly not limited to):
- stereotypes and representations of Jewish women that are exacerbated by the intersection of antisemitism and misogyny
- prejudice or discrimination based on gender and race/ethnicity/religion/class with respect to the German-Jewish experience
- historical instances of antisemitic exclusion or persecution of Jewish women or others who have embraced feminist values pertaining to gender and sexuality (for example: early feminists; attacks on Magnus Hirschfeld and the Institute for Sexual Science, etc.)
- approaches to the critical analysis of gender within Antisemitism Studies, Holocaust Studies, and German-Jewish Studies
- uneasiness about how Jewish women fit into notions of intersectionality
- how 21st-century feminist activists can work to combat antisemitism while navigating the tensions surrounding Israel/Palestine, and how this work might draw from recent definitions of antisemitism (IHRA, Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism)
Proposals of approximately 500 words should describe the contribution and its significance for feminist studies.
Late October 2021: Decision notification from editors
January 31, 2022: Full manuscripts due for editorial and peer review
The special issue is scheduled to appear in July 2023.