• Santiago Slabodsky


In this article I take the blind spots in the liberal interpretation of modern Jewish thought as a starting point to argue for the necessity of adopting a decolonial framework for situating the critical thrust of Jewish intellectuals. I contend that this innovative approach illuminates the existential condition that became the driving force behind the articulation of Jewish subversions of modernity. While most liberal interpreters situate these as a result of the development of the nation-state, I show that this presumption of nineteenth/twentieth centuries (European) Jews leading the critical process ignores centuries of struggles and reproduces Eurocentric liberating qualities. As such it limits critical thought to the same spatial context where oppressive discourses emerged. As an alternative I contend that the critical thrust of Jewish thought is the outcome of a more long-standing process known as coloniality and encompassing the patterns of domination that developed in colonial contexts but exceeded their temporal and spatial dimensions. This process is traced back to the sixteenth century, when Jewish intellectuals became one group among other racialized collectives to attack the core of a 500 years-long process. I conclude by claiming that this framework can offer an invigoration of the field by re-evaluating disciplinary alliances, methodological frames, and geopolitical sensitivities.

Keywords: Jewish thought, decolonialism, postcolonialism, revolution, eurocentric


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