Dunavant University Professor
Director, Marcus W. Orr Center for the Humanities
Office: 143 Mitchell
Education: Ph.D., History, University of California-Irvine, 1997
Fields of interest
Modern Europe; intellectual and cultural; representations of Jews and Judaism, ‘race’,
‘tolerance’ and religion
Dr Judaken was born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa. After completing his
Ph.D. at the University of California, Irvine, in 1997, he spent two years as a postdoctoral
fellow at Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His research focuses on the patterns that
underpin prejudice and the underlying assumptions that animate tolerance. He writes
about ‘anti-antisemites’ and anti-racists, and theories of racism and antisemitism,
examining the assumptions of those who have intervened on behalf of blacks and Jews
in the twentieth century. In doing so, he explores how ‘the Jew’ and ‘the black’ function
as mirror images within the modern West for reflecting on a series of underlying values
about the nation, race, gender, epistemology, and colonization. In addition, he writes
about French-Jewish intellectual history after Auschwitz.
His first book, Jean-Paul Sartre and the Jewish Question: Anti-antisemitism and the Politics of the
French Intellectual (University of Nebraska Press, “Texts and Contexts” series, 2006) examines the figure
of ‘the Jew’ in Sartre’s work and the contexts in which he wrote about Jews and Judaism
over the twentieth century. This is done to re-assess Sartre’s oeuvre and to discuss
more broadly the role of the intellectual in France and the politics and ethics of
He followed up this monograph with an edited collection, Race After Sartre: Antiracism, Africana Existentialism, Postcolonialism (SUNY Press, “Philosophy and Race” series, 2008).
His most recent publication is another edited volume, Naming Race, Naming Racisms (Routledge, 2009), that examines flashpoints in the evolution of the concept of ‘race’
from the eighteenth century to the present and concludes with an interview of Cornel
West by Judaken on black intellectuals in America today.
A third edited work (with Robert Bernasconi) is currently in press at Columbia University,
entitled Situating Existentialism. It will offer a broader understanding of the context of existentialist ideas and
the history of their reception. A significant emphasis is on religious existentialism
(both Jewish and Christian), Africana and Hispanic existentialism, and feminism.
Since he was a scholar in residence at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum,
he has made steady progress on his next monograph, Critical Theories of Antisemitism. It will expand the understanding of anti-antisemitism through a comparative history
of major theories of antisemitism in the work of Sartre, Hannah Arendt, members of
the Frankfurt School, Talcott Parsons, Zygmunt Baumann, Jean-François Lyotard, and
in the work of two extraordinary historians, Léon Poliakov and George Mosse.
Dr Judaken also is U.S. consulting editor for Patterns of Prejudice and is on the advisory board of the H-Net discussion network H-Antisemitism. He is President of the North American Sartre Society (NASS).
Antisemitism, Genocide in Historical Perspective, The Global Challenge, The Development
of World Civilization II, Modern European History and Historiography (undergraduate
and graduate levels), Modern French History, Vichy France and the Holocaust, Cultural
and Intellectual History of Modern Europe (undergraduate and graduate levels), The
Social Construction of Race, Philosophy and Theory of History
- Naming Race, Naming Racisms (Routledge, 2009).
- Race After Sartre: Antiracism, Africana Existentialism, Postcolonialism (SUNY Press, “Philosophy and Race” series, 2008).
- Jean-Paul Sartre and the Jewish Question: Anti-antisemitism and the Politics of the
French Intellectual (University of Nebraska Press, “Texts and Contexts” series, 2006).
- “Between Philosemitism and Antisemitism: The Frankfurt School’s Anti-Antisemitism,”
Antisemitism and Philosemitism in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries: Representing
Jews, Jewishness and Modern Culture, ed. by Phyllis Lassner and Lara Trubowitz (Newark: University of Delaware Press,
- “So What’s New? Rethinking the ‘New Antisemitism’ in a Global Age,” Patterns of Prejudice, v. 42, n. 4-5 (Autumn 2008): 531-560.
- “Intellectuals, Culture and the Vichy Years: Re-appraisals and New Perspectives,”
Contemporary French Civilization, Denis Provencher and Andrew Sabonet, eds. special issue France, 1940-1944: The Ambiguous Legacy, vol. 31, no. 2 (Fall 2007): 83-115.
- “Alain Finkielkraut and the Nouveaux Philosophes: French-Jewish Intellectuals, the
Afterlives of May ’68 and the Re-birth of the National Icon,” Historical Reflections/Réflexions historiques, vol. 32, no. 1 (Spring 2006): 193-223 (special issue on Jews in France).
- “Beauvoir’s Blues, Sartre’s Jews: Reading L’espoir maintenant,” Journal of Romance Studies, vol. 6, no. 1&2 (Spring/Summer 2006): 169-183.
- ”Sartre, Israël et la politique de l’intellectuel,” in La Règle du jeu, n. 27 (January 2005): 152-165; reprinted in Sartre et les juifs, ed. by Ingrid Galster (Paris: Éditions La Découverte, May 2005): 211-221 and in
a slightly revised form as “Sartre at 100: Revisiting his Interventions into the Arab-Israeli
Conflict,” Antisemitism International 2006, no. 3-4 (2006): 94-102.
- “Mapping ‘The New Jewish Cultural Studies,’” History Workshop Journal 51 (Spring 2001): 269-277.
- “Bearing Witness to the Différend: Jean-François Lyotard, The Postmodern Intellectual and ‘the jews,’” Studies in Contemporary Jewry: An Annual, v. 16, Jews and Gender: The Challenge to Hierarchy, ed. Jonathan Frankel (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000): 245-264.
(A complete list of publications may be found in the curriculum vitae.)