Anthropology

Authored by: Misha Klein

The Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Jewish Cultures

Print publication date:  September  2014
Online publication date:  July  2017

Print ISBN: 9780415473781
eBook ISBN: 9780203497470
Adobe ISBN: 9781135048556

10.4324/9780203497470.ch1

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Abstract

Like other fields defined by a geographical area or cultural group, Jewish Studies has developed primarily through the disciplines of history and literature, with contributions from sociology and demography. With a few notable exceptions, anthropological perspectives have been largely absent from the discussion. This lacuna is in part an effect of the way that area studies emerged within the academy, and partly it is a reflection of the interests and materials available within the field of Jewish Studies in particular. It is also an index of the way in which anthropology has developed. The history of anthropology, especially as it has developed in the United States, has long been entangled with Jews and the study of Jewishness and Jewish cultures. However, it is only at the turn of the twenty-first century that anthropology has directly embraced the study of Jews and with full recognition of the contributions that the study of Jewishness can make to a variety of subfields within anthropology. The resulting theoretical developments also have insights to offer the interdisciplinary field of Jewish Studies.

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