The Jewish Eye
Essays on Bodies, Histories, and Identities
By Sander L. Gilman
Hampshire, England and New York: (2003)
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.
- Representing the Shoah at the Frontier.
The essays in this section focus on the Shoah as represented in 20th century mass media.
- Diseases and Boundaries:
This section offers a glimpse on the author's theories on how Jews view their bodies, and how non-Jews have used stereotypical physical features to identify (either directly or indirectly) Jews. In addition he looks at the impact that genetically transmitted diseases and antisemitic pseudoscience has had on the Jewish psyche and history.
- Jewish Bodies on the Multicultural Frontier.
This last section contains a single essay that deals with the repercussions being caused by the ideal of multiculturalism and what it means for the Jewish continuity.
Back to top
- The Jewish Journaling Book, by Janet Ruth Falon.
A handy and inspirational guidebook on all aspects related to the art and practice of keeping a journal.
- The Way Into the Varieties of Jewishness, by Sylvia Barack Fishman.
A lively, guided tour, into the realm of Jewish diversity and the various religious movements that have developed over time.
Questions or Comments? Send an email to:
Copyright © The Jewish Eye 2001 - 2017 All Rights Reserved