Juggling Identities: Identity and Authenticity Among the Crypto-Jews

Kobo ebook | June 1, 2009

bySeth D. Kunin

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Juggling Identities is an extensive ethnography of the crypto-Jews who live deep within the Hispanic communities of the American Southwest. Critiquing scholars who challenge the cultural authenticity of these individuals, Seth D. Kunin builds a solid link between the crypto-Jews of New Mexico and their Spanish ancestors who secretly maintained their Jewish identity after converting to Catholicism, offering the strongest evidence yet of their ethnic and religious origins.

Kunin adopts a unique approach to the lives of modern crypto-Jews, concentrating primarily on their understanding of Jewish tradition and the meaning they ascribe to ritual. He illuminates the complexity of this community, in which individuals and groups perform the same practice in diverse ways. Kunin supplements his ethnographic research with broader theories concerning the nature of identity and memory, which is especially applicable to crypto-Jews, whose culture resides mainly in memory.

Kunin's work has wider implications, not only for other forms of crypto-Judaism (such as that found in the former Soviet Union) but also for the study of Judaism's fluid nature, which helps adherents adapt to new circumstances and knowledge. Kunin draws fascinating comparisons between the intricate ancestry of crypto-Jews and those of other ethnic communities living in the United States.

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Juggling Identities is an extensive ethnography of the crypto-Jews who live deep within the Hispanic communities of the American Southwest. Critiquing scholars who challenge the cultural authenticity of these individuals, Seth D. Kunin builds a solid link between the crypto-Jews of New Mexico and their Spanish ancestors who secretly m...

Seth D. Kunin is pro vice chancellor, arts and humanities, at the University of Durham. He received his B.A. from Columbia University and M.A. from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and was awarded his Ph.D. in anthropology by the University of Cambridge. Kunin has been doing ethnographic research among the crypto-Jews in New...

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Format:Kobo ebookPublished:June 1, 2009Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231512570

ISBN - 13:9780231512572

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Introduction
1. Diversity and Complexity
2. The Case Against the Authenticity of Crypto-Judaism in New Mexico
3. The Case for the Authenticity of Crypto-Judaism in New Mexico
4. Ideal Types of Crypto-Jewish Identity
5. Crypto-Jewish Practice: Memory and Bricolage
6. A Postmodern Take on Crypto-Judaism
Conclusion
Theoretical Appendix. (Neo)-Structuralism: A Basis for Understanding the Transformative Use of Structure in Crypto-Jewish Culture
Notes
Bibliography

Editorial Reviews

A fascinating ethnographic study... highly recommended.