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Chapter Summary

This introductory chapter provides a brief overview of the book Beyond the Yellow Badge: Anti-Judaism and Anti-Semitism in Medieval and Early Modern Visual Culture and its chapters. The book takes its title from the yellow Star of David that Jews in Germany and in German-dominated territories were forced to wear during the Nazi era as a badge of infamy, a visual sign that worked as quarantine for Jews and an ominous warning to non-Jews as well. Among a younger generation of academics, direct or personal experiences with anti-Semitism are less likely to serve as touch-stones for research or corner-stones of identity. The book demonstrates the ongoing need to scrutinize the changing dynamics and consequences of a historic rivalry that has seen intolerance and misunderstanding turn virulent, and to do so in a way that encourages neither exaggerations of its dimensions, nor illusions about its passing.

Keywords: anti-Judaism; anti-Semitism; historic rivalry; Jews; visual culture; yellow badge



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