The Venetian Ghetto and Xenophobia

This mini-seminar takes two historical cues in thinking through the term ghetto in 16th century Venice to the trajectory of the rise of the term xenophobia in human history till the present day. These concerns will be interpreted through the lenses of Shaul Bassi’s article “The Venetian Ghetto and Modern Jewish Identity,” and the concluding chapter “The New Xenophobia” from George Makari’s recent book Of Fear and Strangers: A History of Xenophobia.

The issues raised in their perspectives are particularly prescient for the contemporary world in not only understanding the dangers at hand in the marginalizing effects of the “ghetto” and forms of xenophobia, but in more so creating strategies of thinking that foster greater degrees of multiple forms of coexistence amidst porous and active definitions of self/other, identity, and nation. In today’s global society, forms of xenophobia and segregation run rampant — this mini-seminar seeks to look to how a deeper grasp of historical origins can build a better world through inclusive forms of residing with those that are perceived on the margins. Through this perspective, a critical platform of inquiry can be cultivated in building new forms of awareness and consciousness on these paradigms. This mini-seminar poignantly aligns with the MLA program’s PLOs, through a sustained focus on dimensions and dynamics that revolve around: the history of ideas and enduring humanistic questions; an interdisciplinary lens of inquiry; and in raising vital questions in response to social and ethical issues that interrogate dominant narratives and systems of power.

Presented by Dr. David Buyze.

Anniversary program overview:

Founded in 1962, the Master of Liberal Arts at the Johns Hopkins University is celebrating its 60th anniversary. Come join Associate Director, Dr. Tristan Cabello, on a journey of celebration with the faculty and students of the Hopkins MLA program. With its diverse student body, the Hopkins MLA is home to students from different backgrounds, with numerous academic interests and with varied professional careers.

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