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Inaugural lecture by prof.dr. J.V. Roitman

29 March 2023 15:45 - 16:45

Jews, history and home-making: colonial contradictions and contemporary challenges. How blacks and Jews share a legacy of colonial racism and antisemitism.

Jews go to the colonies to create a home and live freely. In the Dutch Caribbean they become complicit in the colonial enterprise, including enslaving Africans. This is not surprising as Jews comprised up to half of the white population in the 18th century. This presence has led to the lie that Jews were disproportionately involved in the slave trade, an antisemitic trope that has damaged relations between Blacks and Jews. 

Although Jews were part of the colonizing elite, they were also colonized. They were always 'the Others', no matter how much they tried to belong. This illustrates the contradiction of colonialism and the intersection of racism and antisemitism. 

Racism and antisemitism are based on the belief that some people don't belong and will never be at home in a society. The cruel irony of Jewish history, however, is that whatever Jews do to belong, including complicity in the enslavement of others, and to assert that a place is their home too, it doesn't work out.


The Rector Magnificus of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and the Dean of the Faculty of Religion and Theology cordially invite you to attend the public session of the College of Deans, at which dr. J.V. Roitman who has been appointed as Full Professor of Jewish Studies, hopes to accept this office by giving her inaugural lecture entitled Jews, history and home-making: Colonial contradictions and contemporary challenges. 

This session is scheduled to take place Wednesday 29 March 2023 at 15:45. In the aula of the university’s main building: De Boelelaan 1105, Amsterdam.

You can also attend this lecture via

The session will be followed by a reception.

You can see the flyer of the inaugural lecture here.

About Inaugural lecture by prof.dr. J.V. Roitman

Starting date

  • 29 March 2023


  • 15:45 - 16:45


  • VU Aula


  • De Boelelaan 1105
  • 1081 HV Amsterdam

Follow the inaugural lecture online

Go to livestream