CHID 206 A: Violence and Contemporary Thought

Spring 2021
Meeting:
TTh 2:30pm - 4:20pm / * *
SLN:
21586
Section Type:
Seminar
Joint Sections:
JEW ST 206 A
Instructor:
"RACE, RELIGION, AND 'TOLERANCE' IN WESTERN EUROPE" EXPLORES HOW THE DISCOURSE OF "TOLERANCE" PARADOXICALLY REINFORCE RACISM, ANTISEMITISM, AND ISLAMOPHOBIA IN CONTEMPORARY EUROPE. **OPTIONAL W CREDIT AVAILABLE; ADDITIONAL SEATS IN JEW ST 206 HYBRID SYNCHRONOUS/ASYNCHRONOUS OFFERED VIA REMOTE LEARNING
Syllabus Description (from Canvas):

CHID 206 / Jewish Studies 206
Nicolaas P. Barr, PhD (he/him)

Violence and Contemporary Thought:

Race, Religion, and "Tolerance" in Western Europe

 

Note: this course is taught remotely as a hybrid synchronous/asynchronous class, with regular live class meetings generally occurring on Tuesdays during the scheduled class period (2:30-4:20 PM PST). Classroom Zoom: https://washington.zoom.us/j/98653160945?pwd=amh2NVg0NWRXeWNESHV5NTBTZEtEdz09


“There is no tolerance except in the matter of evil things,” wrote St. Augustine. Tolerance is widely considered to be a self-evident virtue in contemporary liberal democracies: we define ourselves by a willingness to accept—to some degree—those who are different from ourselves. Historically, there can be no doubt that practicing tolerance is a significant advance over direct manifestations of hatred of others. In the European context, emerging from the wars of religion in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, it allowed for the relatively peaceful coexistence of religious groups with conflicting religious worldviews—at least within Europe. However, religious tolerance was still accompanied by the persistent marginalization of Jews, Sinti and Roma, and others. 

In fact, as soon as the concept of tolerance is considered more carefully, it becomes evident that a fundamental asymmetry is presupposed between the subject who is doing the tolerating and who or what is being tolerated. The potential or even necessity to violently exclude someone or something beyond certain limits appears to be constitutive of tolerance itself; as the political theorist Wendy Brown puts it, tolerance is a matter of “regulating aversion.”

In this course, we will explore this tension in contemporary Western Europe, where “tolerance” is claimed to be “under attack” from the outside and inside, while Europe itself is increasingly dominated by right-wing political and media cultures that are racist, sexist, Islamophobic, antisemitic, and xenophobic. What does the discourse of tolerance tell us about formations of power in Western Europe today? And how are scholars, activists, artists, and other leaders of color actively contesting these exclusionary forces?  

This course will explore critiques of "tolerance" in Western Europe and how minoritized peoples have contested the increasingly violent forms of white supremacy. Highlights include a guest lecture by Fatima El-Tayeb, Professor of Ethnic Studies at UC San Diego and a leading authority on race, religion, and sexuality in Europe, and a conversation with Moroccan-Dutch politician and author Tofik Dibi about his coming-out memoir, Djinn (see below for a video introduction).

Full syllabus

 

 

Catalog Description:
Modern and contemporary ideas about violence and their emergence as intellectual responses to historical events. Topics may include histories of physical violence, such as slavery, colonialism, or the Holocaust, as well as structural forms of violence. Offered: jointly with HSTCMP 206/JEW ST 206; AS.
GE Requirements Met:
Diversity (DIV)
Social Sciences (SSc)
Credits:
5.0
Status:
Active
Last updated:
July 19, 2024 - 6:36 pm