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Jewish Frontiers

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Jewish Frontiers

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Jewish Frontiers
Essays on Bodies, Histories, and Identities

By Sander L. Gilman
Palgrave Macmillan
Hampshire, England and New York: (2003)
ISBN: 0-312-29532-4

Reviewed by Anna Dogole - August 18, 2003

Jewish Frontiers: Essays on Bodies, Histories, and Identities contains a series of essays by Sander L. Gilman that explore Jewish culture from the perspective of a frontier people. Gilman's definition of a frontier people is a group on the periphery of the 'center' that uses their interactions with others as a medium by which they define themselves. "The frontier is not the periphery, as it relates only to itself. It is the conceptual and physical space where groups in motion meet, confront, alter, destroy, and build." (Pg 15.) According to Gilman, most interpretations of Jewish culture are offered from the perspective of Diaspora Jewry and the Shoah (Holocaust). Yet this viewpoint presents a skewed imaged of Jewish identity in the post-Zionist world.

This eclectic series of essays covers how Jews are portrayed and how Jews portray themselves in film, literature, and history. Topics covered range from a discussion who owns the Shoah and the impact of the ideal of multiculturalism on Jewish identity. The essays in this collection are arranged into three interconnected sections: These intriguing essays provide much fodder for thought, and they bring into question long-standing assumptions about Jewish identity and how it formed. He also illustrates how Israel, as a nation state, is portrayed in mainstream media, and how the creation of the state has altered Jewish self-identity. Provocative and imaginative, Gilman's essays offer a unique glimpse into the mechanism of cultural identity.

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