'Denial' Historian to Speak at Duke About Antisemitism

Deborah E. Lipstadt’s March 25 lecture is free and open to the public

Deborah E. Lipstadt, Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies at Emory University, will deliver a free public lecture on the rise of antisemitism in the United States and Europe at Duke University Monday, March 25.

Her talk, “Antisemitism: Here and Now,” will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the Reynolds Industries Theater in the Bryan Center on Duke’s West Campus. Paid parking is available at the Bryan Center. (NOTE: This is a new location for the event)

Lipstadt will discuss her recent book of the same name, in which she traces the recent rise of hostility and discrimination toward American and European Jews, including expressions of antisemitism in more blatant forms, such as at the deadly Charlottesville rally in 2017, last year’s massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh and other modern-day attacks in Belgium, France and Germany. She will also examine how antisemitism can manifest itself in more subtle and insidious speech, acts and practices on the political left and right.

Provost Sally Kornbluth will introduce Lipstadt.

“At a time when antisemitic actions are on the rise both on and off college campuses, we felt it important to invite Dr. Lipstadt to engage our community in thinking about the roots and context of antisemitism and how it is manifesting itself in new ways in the U.S. and abroad,” Kornbluth said. “I hope that Dr. Lipstadt’s visit will bring together faculty, student, staff and community members to discuss these important issues.”

Lipstadt was famously sued by English author and Holocaust denier David Irving. Her book, “History on Trial, My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier,” recounts the libel trial against Lipstadt and her publisher, Penguin Books. During the trial, the Israeli government released Nazi leader Adolf Eichmann’s journals, which had been sealed for 28 years, and sent the notebooks to Lipstadt’s defense team as evidence. The judge ultimately ruled in Lipstadt’s favor. The book was the basis for "Denial," a movie starring Rachel Weisz as Lipstadt.

Lipstadt founded the Institute for Jewish Studies at Emory. She also served as a consultant to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.

During the event, Lipstadt will ask the audience to look for antisemitism in all its guises, and in response, embrace open dialogue and freedom of thought.  

The event is co-sponsored by the Office of the PresidentOffice of the ProvostOffice of Global AffairsDuke Center for International and Global StudiesJewish Life at DukeReligious Studies Department with support from the Barney Jones Endowment Fund, the Duke Center Jewish Studies, the Coalition for Preserving Memory, the Duke Office of Civic Engagement, and the Duke Center for Political Leadership, Innovation and Service.