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By Sander Gilman

During this strong and wide-ranging learn, Sander Gilman explores the belief of 'the multicultural' within the modern international, a query he frames because the query of the connection among Jews and Muslims. How do Jews outline themselves, and the way are they in flip outlined, in the worldwide struggles of the instant, struggles that flip largely round a secularized Christian viewpoint? Gilman makes use of his topic to unpack a chain of significant concerns: what does it suggest to be multicultural? Can the event of diaspora Judaism function an invaluable version for Islam in brand new multicultural Europe? what's a multicultural ethnic? different chapters examine particular figures in Jewish cultural history – Albert Einstein, Franz Kafka, Israel Zangwill, Philip Roth, the hermaphrodite N.O. physique (aka Karl Baer, raised as Martha Baer) – to discover matters inside of Jewish identification. all through, Gilman will pay willing realization to the ways that modern literature – Chabon, Ozick, Zadie Smith, Jonathan Safran Foer, Gary Shteyngart – taking the assumption of Jewishness and multiculturalism into new arenas.

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The concomitant question of whether behavior always is genetically determined seems to be a central part of this new fascination with race. Yet as nineteenth-century physicians well knew, once the concept of “race” is used in medicine, it can be used to “explain” virtually anything. Even in studies where a nongenetic explanation for the Jews’ relationship to alcohol is sought, the result is completely determined by how the term “Jews” is used as a descriptor. 13 Clearly, these are very different ideas of who a “Jew” is.

Indb 16 6/1/06 11:04:23 AM a Model for Islam? 17 deal with otherness. ”43 Thus, the Muslims (now understood as “ethnicity” rather than “religion”) engaged in the creation of high culture are by definition those engaged in a process of acculturation, even if they deeply mistrust this process. 44 In the Muslim Diaspora in the United Kingdom, high culture, defined as the space of the multicultural, is and remains the place of contestation. 45 While it does use Jewish identity to provide a model for the Turkish experience, it also imagines such an experience within the new multicultural model of hybridity or cultural synthesis.

Biological” difference, the difference of the older and some of the present views of “race,” is displaced onto a symbolic, cultural level. But at the same moment, this cultural heritage is commodified and thus made available for all consumers. Indeed, it is the very concepts of multiculturalism as hybrid or autonomous, parallel culture that were shaped about the conflicts that arose in the late nineteenth century over the status of the Jews in high culture. This debate continues the debate about how the experience of the Jews in Western European cultures shapes the discourses that now impact on Islam.

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