Thin Description: Ethnography and the African Hebrew by John L. Jackson Jr.

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By John L. Jackson Jr.

The African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem are usually disregarded as a perimeter cult for his or her ideals that African americans are descendants of the traditional Israelites and that veganism results in immortality. yet John L. Jackson questions what "fringe" skill in a global the place cultural practices of each stripe movement freely on the web. during this poignant and complex exam of the bounds of ethnography, the reader is invited into the visionary, occasionally vexing international of the AHIJ. Jackson demanding situations what Clifford Geertz known as the "thick description" of anthropological learn via a multidisciplinary research of ways the AHIJ use media and know-how to outline their public photo within the twenty-first century.

Moving some distance past the "modest witness" of nineteenth-century medical discourse or the "thick descriptions" of twentieth-century anthropology, Jackson insists that Geertzian thickness is an impossibility, specially in a global the place the anthropologist's topic is a self-aware subject--one who crafts his personal autoethnography whereas severely eating the ethnographer's choices. Thin Description takes as its subject a bunch positioned alongside the fault strains of a number of diasporas--African, American, Jewish--and offers an anthropological account of the way race, faith, and ethnographic illustration has to be understood anew within the twenty-first century lest we reenact outdated blunders within the research of black humanity.

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Additional info for Thin Description: Ethnography and the African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem

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So many stories of collective and individual identity-Â�making share the same intonations and inflections. 27 Thin Description is an attempt to introduce readers to a group that is largely hidden right in front of their eyes, a group that most people choose, actively or passively, not to see. It proffers many different ways of making that brief introduction, of mining a community’s archives and everyday activities for potential points of entry into an unabashedly unfinished—Â�and unthick—Â�version of their ethnographic world.

Ahmadiel expected them to be inspired by his revelation, to fall all over themselves in an effort to join their brothers and sisters in the Megiddo 35 Holy Land, but when he stayed for that evening’s class, he was pummeled with a series of biblical arguments about why their emigrationist decision was wrongheaded and ill-Â�timed. 6 Ben Ammi was stubborn and misguided, they’d decided, maybe even a spell-Â�casting minion of Satan (possibly in possession of some kind of magical ring that allowed him to mesmerize his duped followers).

Or he’d pick saints up at JFK after their long flights from Tel Aviv and escort them to whatever American city was slated to serve as their stateside destination for the next few weeks or months (as they prepared more saints in the United States for emigration to Dimona). The 1970s were a busy time for the community. 5 Whenever Ahmadiel’s schedule got really busy back then, saints coming from and going to New York at a particularly intense clip, he would spend more time hanging out in the Big Apple, combining pickups and drop-Â�offs, entertaining himself by walking around Manhattan in search of people to talk to, spreading the news about what Ben Ammi was doing for the hundreds of African Americans that he had already successfully relocated abroad.

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