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Keywords:

  • embodiment;
  • fieldwork;
  • Jews;
  • Russians;
  • Black Hebrews

Seeking to destabilize static truths about the Jews as an unchanging and uncanny people, this article advances full-bodied ethnography. Full-bodied ethnography, with its double focus on the embodied subjects of research and the bodies of researchers, and the meanings conveyed by both, involves mutual participation in the social process: Ethnographers and their hosts together enact, and hence entrench, cultural categories. Yet at the same time, the unmediated sensual interactions of fullbodied ethnography also challenge, if not blow apart, the verity of these categories. A review of fieldwork that I conducted among Jews, non-Jews, and those precariously placed on the Jewish/non-Jewish divide suggests that Judaic Studies and cultural anthropology can benefit from the pursuit of full-bodied ethnography to steer a course aimed at getting beyond the fixity of race and ethnicity.