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Has Postmodernism Redefined Jewish History?

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Public trust of academics in the Humanities seems to be spiraling downward as many individuals are growing increasingly skeptical of the methodology that many of these fields employ.
 
We could discuss the relatively nascent fields such as Gender Studies, and how it seems like the vast majority of papers coming out of these disciplines employ lofty arguments built on foundationless premises which are then expected to be accepted as fact. Or we can talk about the neo-Marxist, postmodernism that has crept into the majority of historical or cultural disciplines and how anyone who does not agree with these presuppositions is simply shunned from the conversation.
 
These are important topics and we will circle back to them soon, however, I feel that as an American Jew, there is a far more relevant conversation happening in the academic realm that has definitely contributed to my personal skepticism and overall fear of modern academic movements.
 
One of the more recent trends within academic Jewish Studies is to critique the longstanding notion of American-Jewish exceptionalism. Jewish scholars and laymen alike have historically felt that Jews in America have enjoyed special and unparalleled security and acceptance in comparison to any other country where Jews are the minority.
 
After all, in America, there has never been a time where Jews had a secondary status and subsequently had to prove that they were worthy of being full citizens, as was the case in nearly every European country. There was never a mainstream political party or state sponsored movement that was bent on specifically targeting the Jews and stripping them of rights. Furthermore, there was never a time where Jews were methodologically expelled (or killed) by America - a statistic that the vast majority of Muslim and European countries do not share.
 
Yes, we can talk about specific instances of anti-semitism in America, such as when General Grant expelled the Jews from a few states during the civil war, but these episodes constitute such an anomaly that they can scarcely touch general trends. This particular case was such an outlier that Jonathan Sarna, perhaps the most well-known American Jewish historian, actually wrote an entire book about it.
 
The problem that many scholars have with the idea of American Jewish exceptionalism is that it contradicts their postmodernist framework. Within postmodernism, there is no objective way to measure anything, and therefore the claim that America has been exceptional to Jews is simply dismissed. It is important to note that no one is casting doubt on the actual historical facts, and these historical facts, if read in an objective manner, all point to the conclusion that America has been better.
 
Since postmodernism is inherently against the idea of general trends and overarching narratives, they will point to one small group of Jews in a specific region in America and note that they have also experienced anti-semitism. Therefore, since there are multiple narratives (a postmodernist buzzword) about American Jewish history, how can we say that overall America has been exceptional to the Jews?
 
This entire conversation reflects a bigger problem in the postmodernist age of humanities studies, where dogmatic premises have replaced a true analysis of the facts. If one begins with a certain premise - say that all countries and cultures are inherently equal regardless of their moral or philosophical foundation - then of course, no amount of facts, data, or statistics will be able to override the premise. Rather it will have the reverse effect of paving the way for the type of arm-waving apologetics that have become ubiquitous in many of these fields.
 
The problem with the academic takedown of objective analysis is that it paves the road for truly awful and dangerous ideologies both on the right and left of American politics. If every minority group is able to claim that they have a specific narrative that is untouchable by outsiders using objective fact, historical analysis, or reason - then how can we be upset or surprised by the proliferation of White Nationalism in the country?
 
In a postmodernistic framework what right do we have to contradict their narrative? When Marxist presuppositions leak down from academia into the mainstream public, why should we be surprised when many college age students see little difference between literal Nazis and someone who leans Republican?
 
I truly feel that the most important intellectual battle of our time is the reclamation of objective reality and fact. Of course, we can and should argue about what differentiates objective facts from subjective feelings or historical reality from narratives, but these are discussions that should be happening instead of the shallow and lazy postmodernist thinking that is slowly taking over the next generation.
 
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