History of Antisemitism


Ellie Schainker, Arthur Blank Family Foundation Associate Professor of Modern European Jewish History with Alex Mari, durational artist

This course explores the global history of antisemitism from antiquity to the present.  Drawing on the long history of antisemitism and the durational art expertise of ASJ fellow Alex Mari, students created an original social art intervention piece.  They chose a theme and case study in the history of antisemitism and curated historical, visual, and contemporary news sources related to their topics.  For one month, they had to daily engage with and move about in the world reflecting on their texts.  They took daily documentation of that engagement, using forms such as: photography, video, sketching, and journaling.  Drawing on their month-long documentation, students created a final showcase piece.  Final projects included: photo collage, video montage, word art, animation, musical composition, and live performance. 

by Mecko Gibson

I sleep a lot, 
So, naturally, 
People think I’m lazy,
But the truth is,
I like walking, 
Just the other day, 
I walked into a conversation,
That boldly made the statement, 
That, maybe I should walk back to where I came from…

The conversation involved 3 cops, 2 donuts and one cup of coffee, 
So, naturally, I walked away.
I walked in a way that commanded attention,
Because ,
Maybe they didn’t notice, 
But my accent and my black skin, 
Was here for a purpose, 

So I walked up to the host , who…
Was about 6ft 2, 
But I tipped-toe with confidence. 

Part I…

Part II

I was once told we have nothing to fear, 
But fear itself, 
Well my fear came dressed in a bullet proof vest,
My fear carried guns disguised as smiles, 
I was afraid that, my fear might pull the trigger if I dont smile back,
And So, I smile back,
Hoping they see white before they see black,
Because fingers tend to act a bit differently when color is involved
The say say seven times fall, seven times rise,
And my fear had about eight bullets,
And I wouldn’t be surprised if each one of them knew any name, 

My fear, had a name, 
And a number, 
And truthfully, I memorized both 
Because How am I suppose to call the people…
That I fear most? …Part II

Part III

Go back to where you came from, 
Said the man in the bullet proof vest, 
And Verily, I say to thee, 
I packed up everything, mentally, and left, 

It was, a, one way ticket, 
And a trip, that I wished I had missed it, 
Because I’m still trying to figure out How to get back, 

Im still Trying to figure out how to get back to the place 
I was told I should leave, 
That place of comfort, 
That place of trust, 
How do I get back there…
And I desperately want to get back
To the place of blind trust 
And complete ignorance
To that place where all I had to fear, was fear it self…
I wanted to give them History…
But instead, they took a piece of me…
Which, honestly, 
Is kind of the same thing, 
And honestly, lately, 
Since then, I have been lazy,
Because, I’m not exactly sure when, 
Im ever gonna, walk again
Because where do I go, 
What do I say , 
When in that very Moment, 
And that very reality,
I could’ve said anything, but instead I chose, to walk away.