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The Ghetto: Travelling through history
9th December 2021 @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
“Ghetto” is an extraordinarily complex word which is both a noun and an adjective. It has layers of contrasting meanings accrued over five hundred years and a bewildering array of settings across the globe. It refers to medieval and early modern Jewish history; black experience in the great northern cities of America in the twentieth century; nineteenth-century imaginary ghettos; and our contemporary sense of cities and countries segregated by race and class. What makes “the ghetto” unique is that it is a place full of historical memory. Sometimes memory makes the ghetto “real”; at other times past versions of the ghetto are forgotten. But, from the beginning, ghettos have had a variety of histories and connotations. This talk will show how different ghettos (urban, racial, colonial) travel across time and space.
Bryan Cheyette is Chair in Modern Literature and Culture at the University of Reading, and a Fellow of the English Association. He has authored or edited eleven books, most recently The Ghetto: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford UP, 2020). He loves to travel and has held visiting positions at Dartmouth College, the University of Michigan, and the University of Pennsylvania, and he also holds fellowships at the universities of Leeds, Southampton and Birkbeck College, London. He is a past book’s editor of The Jewish Quarterly and writes for the Jewish Chronicle and the Jewish Renaissance. A self-confessed “revieweroholic”, he reviews fiction for several British newspapers including the Times Literary Supplement and the Times Higher.
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