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Coming Out Jewish: On the Impossibility of Jewish Assimilation

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Overview

Like many Jews of our generation, Jon Stratton grew up in a family more concerned about assimilation than about preserving Jewish tradition. While he could easily 'pass' among non-Jews, he found himself increasingly torn between his fear of not belonging and a deeply-felt commitment to his family's past.
Coming Out Jewish examines the unique challenge of constructing an identity amid the clash between ethnicity and conformity. For many Jews, the idea of full assimilation ended with the Holocaust. But the pressure to adapt to the mainstream, Stratton eloquently argues, remains powerful, especially for those with anglicized names, assimilationist parents, a history of recent immigration, or ambivalent experiences of themselves as Jews. With reference to the work of Daniel Boyarin, Ien Ang, and Homi Bhabha, among others, Stratton offers fresh analysis on a wide range of topics, including the Jewish origins of pluralism in the US, anti-Semitism in Germany, the Jewishness of sitcoms like Seinfeld, and the Yiddishization of American culture since World War II.
More than a book about Jews and Jewishness, Coming Out Jewish smartly and accurately mines the Jewish experience in the West to give voice to the issues of migration, Diaspora, assimilation and identity that affect those, displaced and 'othered', around the world.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
The CiP data shows the subtitle as The Impossibility of Jewish Assimilation. Stratton (cultural studies, Curtin U. of Technology, Perth, Australia) explores the nature of Jewishness as a racial and ethnic identity, and addresses issues of migration, assimilation, diaspora, and multiculturalism through the experience of being Jewish. He argues that Jewishness is being understood in an increasingly secular and non-essentialist way. His own experience of growing up Jewish in a highly assimilatory household is interwoven through his study. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415222075
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 6/28/2000
  • Pages: 352
  • Lexile: 1570L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Jon Stratton is Associate Professor of Cultural Studies at Curtin University of Technology, Australia

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements vii
Introduction 1
Part 1 How not to assimilate 33
1 Speaking as a Jew in British cultural studies 35
2 European Jews, assimilation and the uncanny 53
3 Ghetto thinking and everyday life 84
Part 2 (Dis)placement in the state 115
4 Jews, representation and the modern state 117
5 Historicising the idea of diaspora 137
6 Migrating to utopia 164
Part 3 Not quite white 193
7 Jews, race and the White Australia policy 195
8 Jews and multiculturalism in Australia 220
9 Making social space for Jews in America 251
10 Seinfeld is a Jewish sitcom, isn't it? 282
Bibliography 315
Index 333
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