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Awakening muscular memory, a vintage chest necklace, c. 1940, and a copy (Ariella Aïsha Azoulay)


John P. Birkelund Lecture

More Than Jewels: A Judeo–⁠Muslim Potential History

In 1870, Arab Jews and Berber Jews who lived in Algeria for centuries were separated from the rest of the indigenous population and proclaimed by their colonizers as French citizens. As a consequence of this imposed citizenship, they had to renounce much of their pre-colonial ways of life. Almost a century later, with the demise of French rule in Algeria in 1962, this citizenship doomed Arab and Berber Jews to expulsion from their homeland. In this lecture, Ariella Aïsha Azoulay questions the double disappearance of the Jews — from North Africa and from the history of the French colonization of Algeria – and the role this erasure plays in rendering a Jewish-Muslim world unimaginable. Her argument stresses the role of jewelers in this the lost world, thereby reconstructing the place of Jews as the jewelers of the ummah (nation). In so doing, Azoulay traces their centuries long presence in the Maghreb, invokes the “unruliness” of the jewels they created, and proposes a potential history of a Jewish-Muslim world.

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05 Apr 22
Cultural Studies
18:15 - 19:30
Online via Zoom (6:15 p.m. CET / 12:15 ET)

This event took place on April 5, 2022.

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