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Race, Color, Identity: Rethinking Discourses about 'Jews' in the Twenty-First Century

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Race, Color, Identity

Rethinking Discourses about 'Jews' in the Twenty-First Century

Edited by Efraim Sicher
Foreword by Sander L. Gilman

398 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-0-85745-892-6 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (May 2013)

ISBN  978-1-78238-207-2 $34.95/£27.95 Pb Published (September 2015)

eISBN 978-0-85745-893-3 eBook

Hb Pb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook from these vendors Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“If the reader, after closing this volume, remains uncertain or confused about the fundamental questions related to Jews and race (though not Jews and color), this is because fundamental questions appear to remain unresolved. Overall, the essays do a marvelous job in both illustrating and illuminating this confusion.” · Studies in Contemporary Jewry

“An excellent text that will be a significant contribution to the study of Jews and race… The work approaches the topic from a variety of disciplines and geographic locations, and the breadth is in fact one of its greatest strengths.” · Rebecca Alpert, Temple University

“This is a very fine book… It is a very eclectic collection of essays on a range of related texts and issues, yet the chapters cohere, producing a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts, which is how a collection of essays should be. The subject of the volume is important; and many of the essays are first-rate. All of the chapters are trim and to the point.” · Emily Budick, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem


Advances in genetics are renewing controversies over inherited characteristics, and the discourse around science and technological innovations has taken on racial overtones, such as attributing inherited physiological traits to certain ethnic groups or using DNA testing to determine biological links with ethnic ancestry. This book contributes to the discussion by opening up previously locked concepts of the relation between the terms color, race, and “Jews”, and by engaging with globalism, multiculturalism, hybridity, and diaspora. The contributors—leading scholars in anthropology, sociology, history, literature, and cultural studies—discuss how it is not merely a question of whether Jews are acknowledged to be interracial, but how to address academic and social discourses that continue to place Jews and others in a race/color category.

Efraim Sicher is Professor of Comparative and English Literature at Ben- Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel. He has published essays and books on modern Jewish culture, Holocaust memory, and anti-Semitism. His most recent books are The Holocaust Novel (2005), Babel in Context: A Study in Cultural Identity (2012), Rereading the City / Rereading Dickens (2nd edition 2012), and Under Postcolonial Eyes: Figuring the “Jew” in Contemporary British Writing (with Linda Weinhouse, 2012).

Subject: Jewish Studies Cultural Studies (General) Sociology


Sander Gilman

Introduction: Rethinking Discourses about “Jews
Efraim Sicher


Chapter 1. “I’m not White – I’m Jewish”: The Racial Politics of American Jews
Cheryl Greenberg

Chapter 2. Reflections on Black/Jewish Relations in the Age of Obama
Ibrahim Sundiata

Chapter 3. Stains, Plots, and the Neighbor Thing: Jews, Blacks and Philip Roth’s Utopias
Adam Zachary Newton

Chapter 4. Spaces of Ambivalence: Blacks and Jews in New York City
Catherine Rottenberg

Chapter 5. African-American Culture, Anthropological Practices and the Jewish “Race” in Zora Neale Hurston’s Mules and Men
Dalit Alperovich

Chapter 6. Jewish Characters in Weeds: Reinserting ‘Race’ into the Postmodern Discourse on American Jews
Hannah Adelman Komy Ofir and Shlomi Deloia


Chapter 7. A Member of the Club? How Black Jews Negotiate Black Anti-Semitism and Jewish Racism
Bruce Haynes

Chapter 8.  Ethiopian Immigrants in Israel: The Discourses of Intrinsic and Extrinsic Racism
Steven Kaplan

Chapter 9. Black-Jews in Academic and Institutional Discourse
Yonah Zianga

Chapter 10. The “Descendants of David” of Madagascar: Crypto-Judaic identities in 21st century Africa
Edith Bruder


Chapter 11. After the Fact: “Jews” in Post-1945 German Physical Anthropology
Amos Morris-Reich

Chapter 12. Genes as Jewish History?: Human Population Genetics in the Service of Historians
Noa Sophie Kohler and Dan Mishmar

Chapter 13. Sarrazin and the Myth of the “Jewish Gene"
Klaus Hödl

Chapter 14. Blood, Soul, Race, and Suffering: Full-Bodied Ethnography and Expressions of Jewish Belonging
Fran Markowitz

Chapter 15. Jews, Muslims, European Identities: Multiculturalism and Anti-Semitism in Britain
Efraim Sicher

Chapter 16. Brothers in Misery: Re-connecting Sociologies of Racism and Anti-Semitism
Glynis Cousin and Robert Fine

Chapter 17. Race by the Grace of God: Race, Religion, and the Construction of “Jew” and “Arab"
Ivan Davidson Kalmar

Select Bibliography
Notes on Contributors

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