Members of the Tribe
Native America in the Jewish Imagination
Publication Year: 2010
Published by: Wayne State University Press
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This project began as a dissertation in the Department of English and American Literature and Language at Harvard University, and I thank those who saw it into and through its first incarnation: teachers Lawrence Buell, Marcus Moseley, David Roskies, and Marc Shell and mentors and advisors Sacvan Bercovitch, Elisa...
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In 1991, in anticipation of the Columbus quincentenary, Chippewa/Anishinaabe author Gerald Vizenor published The Heirs of Columbus, in which Christopher Columbus is reimagined as a “crossblood,” a Mayan Indian and a Marrano Jew, whose descendants, led by Stone Columbus, the protagonist of the novel,...
1 Playing Indian, Becoming American
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Ben Katchor’s 1998 graphic novel The Jew of New York: A Historical Romance begins in 1830, five years after the sovereign Jewish nation of Ararat envisioned by diplomat, journalist, and playwright Major Mordecai Noah in upstate New York failed. The New York City in Katchor’s graphic novel, like his contemporary...
2 Going Native, Becoming Modern
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The imaginary Indian offered a convenient and infinitely flexible figure upon which to work out questions of American identity, from the seventeenth century up through the fledgling twenty-first. In the twentieth century in particular, Indians, as well as other so-called primitive peoples, would additionally come to serve...
3 Red Jews
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The title of Tillie Olsen’s novel Yonnondio: From the Thirties (begun in the 1930s but published in 1974) and its opening dedication are both borrowed from Walt Whitman’s 1888 poem “Yonnondio.” Whitman understood the Iroquois word yonnondio to mean a lament for the dead.1 Unlike Whitman’s poem, however,...
4 Henry Roth, Native Son
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Allen Ginsberg’s poem “America” satirizes cold war paranoia through the Pidgin English of the stereotypical Indian. The voice of Ginsberg’s Indian fantasizing a Russian takeover of Chicago and filling stations, however, emerges out of a cacophony of Yiddish cadences (“Scott Nearing was a grand old man / a real...
5 First Nations
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Jerusalem, 2007: two images, one from a local English-language newspaper and the other from a T-shirt store on Ben Yehuda Street, the pedestrian mall downtown usually thronged with tourists. In the newspaper, a group of Palestinian protestors are dressed in buckskin, fringed shirts, and feather headdresses. The...
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In the mid-1990s, a delegation of rabbis visited Arizona for a “spiritual gathering” with Navajos.1 Photographer Frédéric Brenner’s image of this meeting appears in his photography collection titled Diaspora: Homelands in Exile. Brenner’s photograph was taken from a car window. On the left, a group of Jewish men...
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Page Count: 264
Publication Year: 2010
Volume Title: N/a
Series Title: Non-series