Frontiers of Hate: Anti-Semitism and Empire in Nineteenth-Century France

Dorian Bell
UC Santa Cruz

This book project traces the intertwined histories of anti-Semitism and empire in modern France. Drawing on a body of anti-Semitic newspapers, treatises, and novels, as well as on representations of colonial empire, I argue that French colonial expansion helped French anti-Semitism adopt the political, racializing guise that would haunt the twentieth century. I propose that, conversely, anti-Semitism contributed to the imperial project’s ideological elaboration and public acceptance. By chronicling how these mutual reconfigurations often took place within literature—and in ways, I suggest, not elsewhere possible—the book provides new models for investigating the ever-unsteady borderland between cultural representations and political praxis. It also places into conversation scholarship on anti-Semitism and imperialism in order to gain fresh perspective on how circulations between metropole and colony shaped the emergence of modern European racial thought.