Date(s) - 30/08/2017
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
“Black Africa,” both as a geographical territory and as a cultural imaginary, has played a crucial, though sorely-neglected role in Zionist culture and Zionist self-fashioning. Numerous episodes—the Uganda Plan to establish a Jewish state in Africa (1903), Nahum Gutman’s children’s classic Lobengulu King of Zulu (1939), the Entebbe Operation and its place in Israeli collective memory (1976), and even Ehud Barak’s claim that “Israel is a villa in the jungle” (1996)—testify to the way in which images of “Black Africa” have figured in Zionist texts, visions, and projects.
Central among these is what Golda Meir called “our African ‘adventure’” – young Israel’s offer of technical and military assistance to the emerging Black nations of Africa in exchange for their diplomatic support. By examining the role of “Black Africa” in Israeli ideology and culture we can thus reconsider the vexed question of Zionism’s complex position in relation to three historical/ideological phases or foci – colonialism, anti-colonialism, and postcolonialism.
Professor Eitan Bar-Yosef is the Head of the Department of Foreign Literatures and Linguistics, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel. A literary scholar and cultural historian, his work spans a range of fields – Postcolonial Studies, Jewish Studies, and Theatre Studies, in both the British and Israeli contexts.
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