Cover: Thin Description: Ethnography and the African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem, from Harvard University PressCover: Thin Description in HARDCOVER

Thin Description

Ethnography and the African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem

Add to Cart

Product Details

HARDCOVER

$56.50 • £45.95 • €51.00

ISBN 9780674049666

Publication Date: 11/04/2013

Text

404 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

8 halftones

World

The African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem are often dismissed as a fringe cult for their beliefs that African Americans are descendants of the ancient Israelites and that veganism leads to immortality. But John L. Jackson questions what “fringe” means in a world where cultural practices of every stripe circulate freely on the Internet. In this poignant and sophisticated examination of the limits of ethnography, the reader is invited into the visionary, sometimes vexing world of the AHIJ. Jackson challenges what Clifford Geertz called the “thick description” of anthropological research through a multidisciplinary investigation of how the AHIJ use media and technology to define their public image in the twenty-first century.

Moving far beyond the “modest witness” of nineteenth-century scientific discourse or the “thick descriptions” of twentieth-century anthropology, Jackson insists that Geertzian thickness is an impossibility, especially in a world where the anthropologist’s subject is a self-aware subject—one who crafts his own autoethnography while critically consuming the ethnographer’s offerings. Thin Description takes as its topic a group situated along the fault lines of several diasporas—African, American, Jewish—and provides an anthropological account of how race, religion, and ethnographic representation must be understood anew in the twenty-first century lest we reenact old mistakes in the study of black humanity.

Recent News

Black lives matter. Black voices matter. A statement from HUP »

From Our Blog

Jacket: A Brief History of Equality, by Thomas Piketty, from Harvard University Press

Five Reasons Why You Should Read Thomas Piketty’s A Brief History of Equality

In his surprising and powerful new work, A Brief History of Equality, Thomas Piketty reminds us that the grand sweep of history gives us reasons to be optimistic. Over the centuries, he shows, we have been moving toward greater equality. We asked him about his impassioned new book: why he wrote it, how it’s optimistic, and what we need to do to continue making progress on creating an equitable world.