In this powerful and wide-ranging study, Sander Gilman explores the idea of 'the multicultural' in the contemporary world, a question he frames as the question of the relationship between Jews and Muslims. How do Jews define themselves, and how are they in turn defined, within the global struggles of the moment, struggles that turn in large part around a secularized Christian perspective?
Gilman uses his subject to unpack a sequence of important issues: what does it mean to be multicultural? Can the experience of diaspora Judaism serve as a useful model for Islam in today's multicultural Europe? What is a multicultural ethnic? Other chapters look at specific figures in Jewish cultural history - Albert Einstein, Franz Kafka, Israel Zangwill, Philip Roth, the hermaphrodite N.O. Body (aka Karl Baer, raised as Martha Baer) - to explore issues within Jewish identity. Throughout, Gilman pays keen attention to the ways in which contemporary literature - Chabon, Ozick, Zadie Smith, Jonathan Safran Foer, Gary Shteyngart - taking the idea of Jewishness and multiculturalism into new arenas.
Sander Gilman is Distiguished Professor of the Liberal Arts and Sciences at Emory University. Among his many books are The Jew's Body and Franz Kafka, The Jewish Patient, both published by Routledge.