How the Jews Became Japanese and Other Stories of Brazilian Nationality and Ethnicity
What are the intellectual paths that scholars walk when they assume that ethnic specificity is a dominant social or cultural phenomenon that overshadows commonality? This presentation proposes that cross-ethnic comparison introduces new questions into research on Jews, or member of any other ethnic group. Put differently, the presentation emphasizes the question of national culture and asks how it creates similarities in some areas of ethnic life. The comparative analysis of Jews and Japanese within one national context (Brazil) highlights the moments and spaces where Jews are, and are not, the “same thing” as Japanese. -
Jeffrey Lesser, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Latin American History and Director, Tam Institute for Jewish Studies, (B.A., Brown University, 1982; Ph.D., New York University, 1989); modern Latin American history, focusing on ethnicity, immigration and race, especially in Brazil. Author of A Discontented Diaspora: Japanese-Brazilians and the Meanings of Ethnic Militancy (Duke University Press, 2007), Negotiating National Identity: Immigrants, Minorities and the Struggle for Ethnicity in Brazil (Duke University Press, 1999) awarded the Best Book Prize, Latin American Studies Association-Brazil in Comparative Perspective Section and Welcoming the Undesirables: Brazil and the Jewish Question (University of California Press, 1994) awarded the Best Book Prize, New England Council on Latin American Studies. Editor, Searching for Home Abroad: Japanese-Brazilians and Transnationalism (Duke University Press, 2003); Co-editor, Rethinking Jewish-Latin Americans (University of New Mexico Press, 2008) and Arab and Jewish Immigrants in Latin America: Images and Realities (Frank Cass, 1998).