The Burdens of Brotherhood
Jews and Muslims from North Africa to France
Harvard University Press 2015
New Books in African StudiesNew Books in European StudiesNew Books in French StudiesNew Books in Islamic StudiesNew Books in Jewish StudiesNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Religion & FaithNew Books Network June 28, 2016 Roxanne Panchasi
In The Burdens of Brotherhood: Jews and Muslims from North Africa to France (Harvard University Press, 2015), Ethan Katz examines and interrogates Jewish-Muslim relations from 1914 to the present. Arguing that interactions between Jews and Muslims must be understood in and through the respective, changing statuses and relationships of both communities to the French state, The Burdens of Brotherhood pursues the history of this “triangular affair.” Drawing on a range of archival, press and media sources, as well as oral interviews, the book emphasizes everyday lives and mutual perceptions in and between spaces private and public, local and transnational. Its chapters move from the diversity and legacies of wartime experiences, to family and community gathering places in three different French cities (Paris, Strasbourg, and Marseille), to the routes and mobilities of people, cultures, and politics across the Mediterranean. The Burdens of Brotherhood revisits the First World War, the interwar years, the period of Vichy and the Occupation, the French-Algerian War, and the final decades of the twentieth century. It also traces the impact of international movements and politics on ethno-religious communities and identities in the French context, from forms of Zionism and anti-imperialism to the vicissitudes of the Arab-Israeli conflict since 1948. Towards the end of our conversation, Ethan and I had a chance to speak about the recent French past, including the events of January 2015 that he addresses in the book’s conclusion. Written with the present in mind, The Burdens of Brotherhood offers vital historical perspective and insight on issues of urgent concern with important implications for the future.