I’m Marc Dollinger and I get to teach, write, and give lots of public talks as a member of the Jewish Studies faculty at San Francisco State University. Thanks to the Goldman Family (think Levi Strauss), I hold an endowed research chair in Jewish Studies and Social Responsibility, gifting me a platform to talk about my passion for Jewish social justice.
Don’t get too far ahead, though, I believe it’s a scholar’s obligation (and privilege) to “complicate the narrative and deepen learning.” Whatever you learned growing up about Jews and politics, it’s my job to turn it on its head…and convince you to think about things in new, different, and exciting ways. I won’t engage in political advocacy because I want to teach everyone new ways to think.
Marc Dollinger charts the transformation of American Jewish political culture from the Cold War liberal consensus of the early postwar years to the rise and influence of Black Power–inspired ethnic nationalism. He shows how, in a period best known for the rise of black antisemitism and the breakdown of the black-Jewish alliance, black nationalists enabled Jewish activists to devise a new Judeo-centered political agenda—including the emancipation of Soviet Jews, the rise of Jewish day schools, the revitalization of worship services with gender-inclusive liturgy, and the birth of a new form of American Zionism.
Undermining widely held beliefs about the black-Jewish alliance, Dollinger describes a new political consensus, based on identity politics, that drew blacks and Jews together and altered the course of American liberalism.
“Dollinger’s illuminating book illustrates that many American Jewish leaders were not only sympathetic to Black Power but were supportive of it. Dollinger shows that the American Jewish turn toward issues of Jewish continuity owes a great debt to the Black Power movement and that Jewish leaders understood that early on. This book will significantly change how we view the American Jewish 1960s and their aftermath.”
Shaul Magid, Indiana University,
Bloomington and Shalom Hartman Institute of North America
“Dollinger’s book highlights Jewish leaders during the twentieth century who understood and applauded African American separatism and militancy, and then turns to the Jewish young people who embraced Black Power’s community-building possibilities. This book offers exciting new directions for American Jewish scholarship and helps reframe our understanding of Jewish engagement with African Americans, civil rights, and American Identity.”
Book in Progress
A Tale of Two Campuses: Jews and Identity Politics in the Golden State
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