Introduction: Toward a Physiognomic Epidemiology of the Fetishized Jew

Jay Geller

in The Other Jewish Question

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780823233618
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780823241781 | DOI:
Introduction: Toward a Physiognomic Epidemiology of the Fetishized Jew

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This chapter introduces terminology and methods that will be used throughout this study. It offers working definitions of Judentum, antisemitism, Jewish-identified individuals, fetish, modernity, and the morphemic/orthographic/semantic/phonemic field. It also describes a physiognomic epidemiological method, a technique for mapping the emergence and distribution of as well as the interrelationships among particular Jewish-associated morphemes and images in German-language verbal and visual texts. The chapter depicts a European modernity characterized by the emergence of medical/biological and national/evolutionary/colonial narratives and accompanying authorizing discourses by which truth was identified and rendered visible on the body—specifically, the body of “the Jew” and the techniques practiced upon it (e.g., circumcision). It situates the socio-politico Jewish Question in Germanophone lands within the unresolved crisis over whether or not Jewish-identified individuals should or could be integrated into the dominant society.

Keywords: antisemitism; body; discourse; epidemiology; fetish; Jewish Question; method; modernity; physiognomy

Chapter.  11408 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies

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