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Jews and Other Differences

The New Jewish Cultural Studies

1996

Jonathan Boyarin and Daniel Boyarin, editors

Jews and Other Differences

Addresses the relation of Jewish cultural studies to cultural studies as a whole.

The goal of this diverse and intriguing volume is to begin to lay the groundwork for an independent Jewish cultural studies, shaping a space of common discourse between Jews and others who share a critical approach to the cultural politics of difference.

Contributors: Ammiel Alcalay, Gil Anidja, Maria Damon, Jay Geller, Daniel Itzkovitz, Chana Kronfeld, Jack Kugelmass, Benjamin Orlove, Vivian Patraka, Ann Pellegrini, Marc Shell, Naomi Seidman, and Johannes von Moltke.

Jews and Other Differences makes a powerful and provocative display case for the new modalities in Jewish Studies and adds a piquant flavor to an already spicy stew known as ‘cultural studies.’ I can’t imagine how scholars will be able to ignore this volume.

Kalman P. Bland, Duke University

Jews and Other Differences

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Although there are many Jews who “do” cultural studies, the work of establishing a “Jewish place” within the discipline has barely begun. The goal of this diverse and intriguing volume is to begin to lay this groundwork, shaping a space of common discourse between Jews and others who share a critical approach to the politics of culture and the cultural politics of difference.

Jews and Other Differences insists that Jews are living beings embedded in a social context and that their values are subject to ideological critique and demystification. Using tools from literary theory, anthropology, and sociology, the contributors analyze the sociocultural processes through which their collective and individual identities have been negotiated. These essays emphasize the various ways in which Jewish cultural studies and cultural studies in general reevaluate previous understandings of ethnic, racial, gender, and cultural identity. Ultimately, in place of such constructs, Jews and Other Differences proposes that identity be conceptualized as an open-ended process of self-constitution.

Topics include a critical reading of a major museum display on Jewish culture held in Berlin in 1992; Jews, gender, and race, including the relationship between Jews and African Americans; the language politics of Yiddish and Hebrew; the construction of Europe as Christian and Israel as European; and the cultural politics of circumcision.

Contributors: Ammiel Alcalay, Queens College; Gil Anidjar; Maria Damon, U of Minnesota; Jay Geller, Vanderbilt U; Daniel Itzkovitz; Chana Kronfeld, U of California, Berkeley; Jack Kugelmass, U of Wisconsin; Benjamin Orlove, U of California, Davis; Vivian Patraka, Bowling Green State U; Ann Pellegrini, Barnard College; Marc Shell, Harvard U; Naomi Seidman, Graduate Theological Union; Johannes von Moltke, U of Hildesheim, Germany.

Daniel Boyarin is Taubman Professor of Talmudic Culture at the University of California at Berkeley. His most recent books are Carnal Israel: Reading Sex in Talmudic Culture (1993) and A Radical Jew: Paul and the Politics of Identity (1994).

Jonathan Boyarin is the Leonard and Tobee Kaplan Distinguished Professor of Modern Jewish Thought in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is the author of Storm from Paradise and the editor of Remapping Memory, both available from Minnesota.

Jews and Other Differences

Jews and Other Differences makes a powerful and provocative display case for the new modalities in Jewish Studies and adds a piquant flavor to an already spicy stew known as ‘cultural studies.’ I can’t imagine how scholars will be able to ignore this volume.

Kalman P. Bland, Duke University

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