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The University of Southampton
The Parkes Institute

Howard Rein Lecture 2018 Event

Howard Rein
20 November 2018
Avenue Campus, University of Southampton Southampton SO17 1BF

For more information regarding this event, please email Parkes Institute at .

Event details

Part of an annual series of lectures organise by the Parkes Institute.

Professor Rodney Reznek
Professor Rodney Reznek

For the Sake of the Race: a “Vocabulary of Difference” in 1930s South Africa

In the 1930s two immigration laws were introduced to deny Jews entry to South Africa. Although neither contained the term ‘Jew’, the 1930 Immigration Quota Act specifically prevented immigration of Jews from eastern Europe and the 1937 Aliens Act stopped the entry of Jews fleeing Germany. This presentation will show how markers of difference were created to separate Jewish identity from that of the host white community, taking as a basic premise that studying responses to immigration provides a window into the host community’s own identity formation. The influence of the South African medical profession on the discourse leading up to the exclusion of immigrant Jews will be highlighted. In the 1920s, lead by the English-speaking community, a eugenics language was employed to protect the white national body from Jewish immigration by controlling its biological standards; ideas propagated by the Chief Medical Officer and encouraged by the medical establishment. Medical doctors bought into and encouraged the central eugenicist preoccupation with white national degeneration and agreed, together with others, that eastern European Jewish immigrants would hasten the process and threaten white dominance over blacks. The campaign leading up to the 1937 Aliens Act was conducted primarily by a recently resurgent Purified Afrikaner Nationalism, set on establishing an Afrikaner hegemony. A major source of grievance for the Afrikaner nationalist elite was an apparent shortage of Afrikaner doctors. Recently uncovered documents show that under-representation of Afrikaners in the medical profession was perceived as directly related to the unfair practices and the predominance of Jewish rivals. In addition to proposing a numerus clausus system for Jews, a blanket cessation of Jewish immigration was advocated.

Speaker Information

Professor Rodney Reznek is an Emeritus Professor of Diagnostic Imaging at Barts Cancer Institute, Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry at
Queen Mary University of London.


Please note this is a free event however we request you book a place using the Book this event button above if you wish to attend and to avoid disappointment. Bookings will close at 13:00 on Friday 16 November 2018.

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