Abstract

abstract:

This article explores the place of Jews and Jewishness in a broader American political and cultural discourse of race and racialization. Borrowing methods and analyses from across the field of Critical Race Studies, the article argues that Jewish Studies should shift attention toward Jewishness as a discursive formation in order to understand the significance of iterations of Jewishness that are not directly or wholly about Jews. Beginning with the phrase “the new Jews,” the article examines how Jewishness is a trope for the regulation of whiteness, and proceeds with an analysis of how Jews and Jewishness circulate in three recent works of black cultural production: Jay-Z’s song and video “The Story of O.J,” Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman, and the finale of season 2 of Donald Glover’s series Atlanta. I conclude that all three employ Jewishness to signify the complexities of whiteness, including the regulation of capital, property, and national sovereignty. Analyzing Jewishness in otherwise non-Jewish contexts requires Jewish Studies to look beyond its disciplinary domains and to ally with other fields of Race Studies.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-5077
Print ISSN
0271-9274
Pages
pp. 139-159
Launched on MUSE
2020-03-17
Open Access
No
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