Modernity, Culture and 'The Jew'
This book provides a rich and wide-ranging analysis of Jewish history and culture, relating them to theories of modernity and postmodernity and to recent debates on ethnicity and postcolonialism. Issues addressed include psychoanalysis and gender, literary anti-semitism, (post)modernity and 'the Jew', and the memory of the Holocaust. A Foreword by Homi Bhabha and an Afterword by Paul Gilroy place these concerns in an extended multicultural and postcolonial context.
The book examines the work of past and present cultural theorists who have placed the figure of 'the Jew' at the heart of their version of modernity and postmodernity. Many of the essays locate 'the Jew' at the centre of Western metropolitan culture. But they also explore the ways in which Jews have historically been excluded in order for ascendant racial and sexual identities to be formed and maintained. Cheyette and Marcus argue that there is a virtue in the ambivalent positioning which characterizes Jewish history and culture both then and now.
The volume places a disruptive and uncontainable Jewish history and culture in the context of current debates about gendered, sexual and ethnic identities. It challenges postcolonial and postmodern revisions of modernity which locate Jews in a dominant Judeo-Christian tradition or appropriate them to signify the universality of the modern subject. It will be of interest to students and scholars in Jewish studies, cultural studies, sociology, history, literature and philosophy.