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The Other Jewish QuestionIdentifying the Jew and Making Sense of Modernity$
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Jay Geller

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780823233618

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823233618.001.0001

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Introduction: Toward a Physiognomic Epidemiology of the Fetishized Jew

Introduction: Toward a Physiognomic Epidemiology of the Fetishized Jew

(p.1) Introduction: Toward a Physiognomic Epidemiology of the Fetishized Jew
The Other Jewish Question

Jay Geller

Fordham University Press

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

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