I am delighted to report that David Koffman's much anticipated book, The Jews' Indian: Colonialism, Pluralism and Belonging in America (Rutgers), is now out. Below please find a summery and table of contents. Please join me in congratulating our colleague on this great achievement.
The Jews’ Indian investigates the history of American Jewish relationships with Native Americans, both in the realm of cultural imagination and in face-to-face encounters. These two groups’ exchanges were numerous and diverse, proving at times harmonious when Jews’ and Natives people’s economic and social interests aligned, but discordant and fraught at other times. American Jews could be as exploitative of Native cultural, social, and political issues as other American settlers, and historian David Koffman argues that these interactions both unsettle and historicize the often triumphant consensus history of American Jewish life. Focusing on the ways Jewish class mobility and civic belonging were wrapped up in the dynamics of power and myth making that so severely impacted Native Americans, this books is provocative and timely, the first history to critically analyze Jewish participation in, and Jews’ grappling with the legacies of Native American history and the colonial project upon which America rests.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Exile and Aboriginality, Kinship and Distance
1 Inventing Pioneer Jews in the New Nation’s New West
2 Land and the Violent Expansion of the Immigrants’ Empire
3 Jewish Middlemen Merchants, Indian Curios, and the Extensions of American Capitalism
4 Jewish Rhetorical Uses of Indians in an Era of Nativist Anxieties
5 Jewish Advocacy for Native Americans On and Off Capitol Hill
6 Anthropological Ventriloquism and Dovetailing Intellectual and Political Advancements
Conclusion: Paths of Persecution, Stakes of Colonial Modernity