Ella Shohat - Spring 2018 Distinguished Visitor

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Ella Shohat

Ella Shohat - Spring 2018 Distinguished Visitor

Department of Art & Public Policy and Middle Eastern & Islamic Studies, New York University

Public Lecture: “The Question of Judeo-Arabic: Nation, Partition, and the Linguistic Imaginary”

This lecture examines linguistic belonging as invented within national and colonial itineraries. More specifically, it explores the genealogy of the concept of “Judeo-Arabic language” and its axiomatic definition as a cohesive (specifically Jewish) unit separate from Arabic, and classifiable under the historically novel rubric of isolatable “Jewish languages” severed from their neighboring dialect/languages. Does the notion of “Judeo-Arabic” correspond to the designation by the speakers of that language themselves or rather to a paradigm influenced by post-Enlightenment Judaic studies and Jewish nationalism? And in the wake of the colonial partition of Palestine / Israel and the displacement from Arabic-speaking cultural geographies, how should we regard the salvage project for an “endangered Judeo-Arabic?” What are the phantasmatic aspects of a conceptual framework that has left a linguistic practice both rejected and desired?

Center for Middle Eastern Studies
University of California, Berkeley
340 Stephens Hall, Berkeley, CA  94720-2314



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