Black Israelites: DNA and then Some

From the Essay

"In a time when genomic/genetic science is being deployed as final arbiter in debates about identificatory truth, it is clear that one response (from at least a few groups of Israelites) is to keep an eye on the science while being careful not to concede all agency to a test tube."

Keywords: diaspora, social constructionism, black Jews

Editorial Footnotes

Cultural Anthropology’s August 2013 issue contains essays on race theory, articles on cultural citizenship in the Black Atlantic World and a roundtable featuring Deborah A. Thomas, Alondra Nelson, John L. Jackson Jr., Wahneema Lubiano, Robyn Wiegman, and Jemima Pierre.  

Cultural Anthropology has also published a number of articles on race and genetics including Michael Montoya’s Bioethnic Conscription: Genes, Race and Mexicana/o Ethnicity in Diabetes Research, Steven Gregory’s Race, Rubbish, and Resistance: Empowering Difference in Community Politics, and Jacqueline Nassy Brown’s Black Liverpool, Black America and the Gendering of Diasporic Space.  

About the Author

John L. Jackson, Jr. is the Richard Perry University Professor of Communication, Africana Studies, and Anthropology and Associate Dean for Administration at the University of Pennsylvania. Jackson received his B.A. in Communications from Howard University and Ph.D. in Anthropology from Columbia University. Prior to coming to Penn, Jackson taught in Duke University’s Department of Cultural Anthropology and served as a Junior Fellow at the Harvard University Society of Fellows for three years. The Ford Foundation, Lilly Endowment and the National Science Foundation have funded his research. As a filmmaker, Jackson has produced films and documentaries and is currently working on two documentaries about conspiracy theories in the urban America and state violence against Rastafari in Jamaica. Jackson has published three books, Harlemworld: Doing Race and Class in Contemporary Black America (2001), Real Black: Adventures in Racial Sincerity (2005), and Racial Paranoia: The Unintended Consequences of Political Correctness (2008) with an upcoming 2013 release of Thin Description: Ethnography and the African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem.  

Additional Readings by the Author  

"Gentrification, Globalization, and Georaciality," In Globalization and Race: Transformations in the Cultural Production of Blackness, edited by Kamari Clarke and Deborah A. Thomas. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2006.

"A Little Black Magic." South Atlantic Quarterly 104, no. 3 (2005): 1–13.

"An Ethnographic Filmflam: Giving Gifts, Doing Research, and Videotaping the Native Subject/Object." American Anthropologist 106, no. 1 (2004): 32–42.

"Abandoning Advertisements over Edificial Ekphrases," Journal of Visual Culture 2, no. 3 (2003): 341–352.

"Undoing Harlemworld: An Anthropological Argument about Diasporic Disasters." In Revolutions of the Mind: Cultural Studies in the African Diaspora Project, 1996-2002, edited by Dionne Bennett, Valerie Smith, Marcyliena H. Morgan, and the Cultural Studies in the African Diaspora Project. Los Angeles: CAAS Publications, 2003.

"Towards an Ethnography of a Quotation-Marked-Off Place," In Souls: The New Black Renaissance, edited by Manning Marable. Boulder, CO: Paradigm Press, 2005.

"Ethnophysicality, or An Ethnography of Some Body." In Soul: Black Power, Politics, and Pleasure, edited by Richard Green and Monique Guillory. New York: New York University Press, 1998.

"The Soles of Black Folk: These Reeboks Were Made for Runnin' from the White Man," In Race Consciousness: African American Studies for the 21st Century, edited by Judith Jackson-Fossett and Jeffrey Tucker. New York: New York University Press, 1997.

"Dreadlocks and Yarmulkes: Cultural Clashes in Crown Heights," FOCUS, published by The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. Washington, D.C., Fall 1992.

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