Review Essay: Living and Loving Jews in the German Present: Jewish Life Beyond the Past, and Beyond Antisemitism
Most academic research on Jews in Germany addresses the past, culture, and religion. If the present is discussed, researchers mainly focus on antisemitism. Ina SCHAUM breaks this pattern. Her research needs to be located in a transdisciplinary framework. In her work, she introduces individual lives, and expressions of agency, indicating the divide between the diversity of Jews, and their experiences, and how they are perceived by non-Jews. Boldly, she uses case studies to depict what "doing being Jewish" means for young Jews in connection to their intimate love relationships. The outcome is refreshing; it does full justice to Jewish life-worlds in Germany. By way of presenting two young Jews in Germany in depth, SCHAUM lifts the lid on the underlying diversity of Germany's Jewish population. She contrasts constructions of Jews with real living Jews, revealing that Jewishness is but one aspect in their quest for love, and that the researcher of the bespoke Jew is indeed also an implicated subject. SCHAUM's work needs to be appreciated as a harbinger in the country where she is based. Informed by English-language anthropology and sociology, she pushes methodological boundaries, consistently questioning the line between researcher and researched from late 1960s onwards. Jews are her case study; yet her theoretical considerations and methodological reflections extend much further.
Copyright (c) 2021 Dani Kranz
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