What makes a person Jewish? Why do some people feel they have physically inherited the memories of their ancestors? Is there any way to think about race without reducing it to racism or to physical differences?These questions are at the heart of Racial Fever: Freud and the Jewish Question. In his final book, Moses and Monotheism, Freud hinted at the complexities of Jewishness and insisted that Moses was really an Egyptian. Slavet moves far beyond debates about how Freud felt about Judaism; instead, she explores what he wrote about Jewishness: what it is, how it is transmitted, and how it has survived. Freud's Moses emerges as the culmination of his work on transference, telepathy, and intergenerational transmission, and on the relationships between memory and its rivals: history, heredity, and fantasy. Writing on the eve of the Holocaust, Freud proposed that Jewishness is constituted by the inheritance of ancestral memories; thus, regardless of any attempts to repress, suppress, or repudiate Jewishness, Jews will remain Jewish and Judaism will survive.
"Racial Fever is part of a now venerable tradition of scholarship that engages with the history and accomplishments of the psychoanalytic movement. Slavet is fair in her assessments of rival scholars, pointed and eloquent in how her own interpretations differ from or overlap with those of others, and has followed up every available lead to document her arguments."--Robert Nye, Oregon State University
About the Author:
ELIZA SLAVET received her Ph.D. in Literature from the University of California, San Diego.