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Steve Hinnefeld
IU Communications

Last modified: Thursday, October 18, 2012

Scholar of French literature, antisemitism to speak at IU

Oct. 18, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Maurice Samuels, professor of French at Yale University and director of the recently established Yale Program for the Study of Antisemitism, will give a public talk next week at Indiana University Bloomington.

His lecture, "Antisemitism and Philosemitism in France: Emile Zola and the Ambiguities of Universalism," will take place at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 24, in State Room East of the Indiana Memorial Union. Sponsors are the Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism and the Borns Jewish Studies Program at IU.

Maurice Samuels

Maurice Samuels

The lecture is especially timely given current concern about antisemitism violence in France, said IU professor Alvin Rosenfeld, director of the Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism. French President François Hollande met recently with Jewish and Muslim leaders to express concern about recent violence and promised tighter security at Jewish religious sites. News reports this week said antisemitic jokes have become one of the most active themes on the social network Twitter in France.

Samuels specializes in the literature and culture of 19th-century France and in Jewish studies. His first book, "The Spectacular Past: Popular History and the Novel in Nineteenth-Century France," examines new forms of historical representation in post-Revolutionary France. It won the Gaddis Smith International Book Prize given by Yale's MacMillan Center. His second book, "Inventing the Israelite: Jewish Fiction in Nineteenth-Century France," brings to light the first Jewish fiction writers in French. It won the Scaglione Prize, given by the Modern Language Association for the best book in French studies.

He is co-editing "A Nineteenth-Century Jewish Literature Reader" and working on a new book on the relationship of antisemitism and philosemitism in France, from the French Revolution to the present. He has published articles on diverse topics, including romanticism and realism, aesthetic theory, representations of the Crimean War and boulevard culture.

Along with the Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism at IU, the Yale Program for the Study of Antisemitism is one of the few academic centers for the study of antisemitism. Established in 2011, the program "invites scholars from across the university -- including sociology, political science, law, history, literature, art history, philosophy, religious studies and psychology -- to analyze antisemitism in an atmosphere of interdisciplinary collaboration and scholarly inquiry."