Talk at Ithaca College on the Jewish Communities of Sub-Saharan Africa

By David Maley, March 23, 2016

Talk at Ithaca College on the Jewish Communities of Sub-Saharan Africa

ITHACA, NY—Political scientist Marla Brettschneider will discuss “The Jewish Phenomenon in Sub-Saharan Africa: Multiple and Conflicting Discourses” in a talk at Ithaca College on Thursday, March 31. Free and open to the public, her presentation will take place at 7:30 p.m. in room 104 of the Park Center for Business and Sustainable Enterprise.

There are potentially as many people involved in Jewish life and Jewishly related communities in sub-Saharan Africa — including Uganda, Nigeria, Ghana and Ethiopia — as there are Jews counted in mainstream studies of global Jewry. Brettschneider’s talk will address several questions: What is the history of these many communities? How do they understand themselves, their relations to their neighbors in Africa and their relationships with global Jewry? In what ways are communal practices similar to those of Jews in the north and what are some differences? How does the rise of interest in things Jewish in this region impact Israel, the United States and world Jewry?

A professor of political philosophy and feminist theory at the University of New Hampshire, Brettschneider is the author of “The Jewish Phenomenon in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Politics of Contradictory Discourses.” Her other books include “The Family Flamboyant: Race Politics, Queer Families, Jewish Lives” and “The Narrow Bridge: Jewish Views on Multiculturalism.”

Her talk is sponsored by the Jewish studies program at Ithaca College. For more information, contact Rebecca Lesses, coordinator of Jewish studies, at or (607) 274-3556.