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Right to Difference : French Universalism and the Jews (Hardcover) (Maurice Samuels)
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Universalismthe fundamental equality of all individuals and equal treatment before the lawhas been a treasured political concept in France since the Revolution. But lately, anxiety over France’s Muslim minority has led politicians and intellectuals to embrace a form of universalism that demands loyalty to the nation at the expense of all ethnic and religious affiliations. In this timely book, Maurice Samuels shows that French universalism was not always so hostile to religion and urges us to understand its history and varied forms. He argues, furthermore, that French universalism has evolved in the modern period largely as a discourse on Jews.” Tracing the development of this discourse through key moments in French history, from debates over granting Jews civil rights during the Revolution, through the Dreyfus Affair and Vichy, and up to the rise of the new antisemitism” after 2000, Samuels shows that Jewish difference has always been essential to the elaboration of French universalism, whether as its foil or as proof of universalism’s reach. Jews are France’s paradigmatic minority, and as such they have long provided French thinkers with the key point of reference for debating the nature of the state and the meaning of Frenchness itself. Ranging from the French Revolution to the recent attack on Charlie Hebdo,” this book will be of keen interest to anyone studying issues of religious tolerance, the history of European Jewry, and the dilemmas of contemporary France.
Number of Pages: 241
Genre: History, Religion + Beliefs, Literary Criticism
Publisher: Univ of Chicago Pr
Author: Maurice Samuels
Street Date: November 5, 2016
Item Number (DPCI): 248-22-2416
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