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Nathaniel Deutsch, “The Jewish Dark Continent: Inventing Jewish Ethnography in the Russian Pale of Settlement”

March 12, 2012 @ 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm  |  Unnamed Venue


The Anthropology Cultural Colloquium presents:

Nathaniel Deutsch

Nathaniel Deutsch

Nathaniel Deutsch, Professor of History, UCSC

“The Jewish Dark Continent: Inventing Jewish Ethnography in the Russian Pale of Settlement”

On the eve of World War I, the Russian Jewish writer, socialist revolutionary, and aspiring ethnographer named An-sky set out on an ethnographic expedition into the Pale of Settlement, the area of the Russian Empire to which a vast majority of its Jews were restricted prior to the Revolution. Over the course of three seasons, An-sky and his team recorded thousands of tales, jokes, and incantations, took hundreds of photos, and collected numerous artifacts, manuscripts, and other objects. They also designed a massive life-cycle questionnaire consisting of 2087 questions entitled “The Jewish Ethnographic Program” for use in the field. An-sky’s goal was to document the traditional Jewish life of the Pale of Settlement before it disappeared forever and, in the process, to create a distinctly Jewish ethnography.

Nathaniel Deutsch is Professor of History and Literature at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he is also the Director of the Institute for Humanities Research and the Co-Director of the Center for Jewish Studies. He has been a professor at Swarthmore College, a visiting professor at Stanford University, and the The Workmen’s Circle/Dr. Emanuel Patt Visiting Professor in Eastern European Jewish Studies at the YIVO Institute. Deutsch is the author of five books, most recently The Jewish Dark Continent: Life and Death in the Russian Pale of Settlement(Harvard University Press, 2011), for which he received a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Contact: Allyson Ramage, for more information.


March 12, 2012
3:30 pm - 5:00 pm


Unnamed Venue
Social Sciences 1‎ University of California Santa Cruz, College Ten
Santa Cruz, CA 95064 United States
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