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New York University Press

Mapping Jewish Identities

Mapping Jewish Identities

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Is Jewish identity flourishing or in decline? Community leaders and scholarly researchers continually seek to determine the attitudes, beliefs, and activities that best measure Jewish identity. At issue, according to these studies, is the very survival of the Jewish community itself. But such studies rarely ask what actually is being examined when we attempt to assess Jewish identity or any identity. Most tend to assume that identity is a preexisting, relatively fixed frame of reference reflecting shared cultural and historical experiences.
Drawing on recent work in such fields as cultural studies, poststructuralist theory, postmodern philosophy, and feminist theory, Mapping Jewish Identities challenges this premise. Contesting conventional approaches to Jewish identity, contributors argue that Jewish identity should be conceptualized as an ongoing dynamic process of becoming in response to changing cultural and social conditions rather than as a stable defining body of traits.
Contributors, including Daniel Boyarin, Laura Levitt, Adi Ophir, and Gordon Bearn, examine such topics as American Jews' desires to connect with a lost immigrant past through photography, the complicated function of the Holocaust in the identity formation of contemporary Jews, the impact of the struggle with the Palestinians on Israeli group identity construction, and the ways in which repressed voices such as those of women, Mizrahim, and Israeli Arabs have changed our ways of thinking about Jewish and Israeli identity.

Author: Laurence J. Silberstein
Publisher: New York University Press
Published: 07/01/2000
Pages: 378
Binding Type: Paperback
Weight: 1.10lbs
Size: 8.98h x 6.00w x 0.95d
ISBN: 9780814797693

Review Citation(s):
Reference and Research Bk News 02/01/2001 pg. 34

About the Author
Silberstein, Laurence J.: - Laurence J. Silberstein is Philip and Muriel Berman Professor of Jewish Studies at Lehigh University, where he directs the Philip and Muriel Berman Center for Jewish Studies.

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